Premiere - 2004

Premiere makes her debut

Satellite fixes

Red dots on the map below will indicate the turtles location from clear readings taken from the tracking device. Dates shown will be in year/month/day format, i.e. 20020917 means 17 September 2002.

"Premiere" update, 10 March 2004

View larger image Enlarge image
Figure 1. Satellite telemetry results for PREMIERE (adult female loggerhead turtle, K33061).

Premiere is an adult female loggerhead turtle originally tagged as a hatchling at Mon Repos Beach in January-February 1975. She is the first of the tagged loggerhead hatchlings recorded returning as a breeding adult. She was recaptured laying eggs on four occasions during November 2003-January 2004. After laying her third clutch for the season she was removed from Mon Repos Beach, fitted with a satellite tracking radio transmitter (PTT) and released from Mon Repos beach on 28 December 2003 (see map).

  • 28 December: Released at 16.10 hours with the PTT attached to carapace at Mon Repos beach. She moved to the inter-nesting habitat offshore from Burnett Heads.
  • 28 December-14 January: In inter-nesting habitat. Four good locations were received showing her to be about 1.3km offshore from the coast between Burnett Heads and Mon Repos. Numerous imprecise locations were obtained that indicate she was in this general area throughout this period.
  • 14 January: Ashore laying her 4th and final clutch for the season at Mon Repos. No signals received from the beach because the nesting occurred outside the duty cycle transmission times.
  • 15-16 January: Post-breeding migration commenced. Travelling north off Moore Park and Kolan River.
  • 19 January: Travelling north off Curtis Island, Gladstone.
  • 21-22 January: Passing Keppell Islands off Yeppoon.
  • 23-25 January: Passing Shoalwater Bay Army Training area.
  • 28 January: North of Shoalwater Bay.
  • 29-30 January: Off Percy Islands. In the 16 days since she laid her last clutch she has travelled ~416km north from Mon Repos.
  • 4 February: 8km south of Brampton Island near Mackay. Approximately 550km north from Mon Repos and still travelling north.
    Poor reception of signals from Premiere because of rough water conditions associated with cyclonic conditions.
  • 10 February: Approaching C. Bowling Green.
  • 25 February: 34km east of Cape Grafton off Cairns, north Queensland. 1105km north from Mon Repos and still travelling north.
  • 2 March: 1260km north from Mon Repos, approaching Archer Point south of Cooktown.
  • 11 March: Off Howick Island, north of Lizard Island in North Queensland: 1426km north from Mon Repos. Appears to be slowing her swimming.

Background information

Premiere is the first of a series of loggerhead turtles that were marked as hatchlings using carapace mutilation tagging at Mon Repos during the 1970s and which have returned to the nesting beaches as breeding adults. She was fitted with a radio tag (PPT) and released for tracking studies using satellite telemetry via the ARGOS satellite system during December 2003 and into early 2004.

The objectives of this telemetry study are, battery life permitting:

  • To quantify the home range for a loggerhead turtle in her internesting habitat adjacent to the nesting beach(es) of the Woongarra Coast;
  • To identify the path and duration of the post-breeding migration from the nesting area to her distant foraging area;
  • To quantify the post-breeding foraging home range of this turtle and determine its fidelity to a specific feeding area(s) across breeding migrations.

K33061, Caretta caretta (Premiere)

  • One of 7381 hatchling loggerhead turtles marked at Mon Repos Beach during January - February 1975.
  • She was recorded for her first breeding season on the nesting beaches of the Woongarra Coast in December 2003 at ~29 year old.
    • CCL = 96.5cm (SCL = 86.8cm, Carr SCL = 88.6cm); weight = 105kg; no tag scars.
    • Laid four clutches of eggs for the breeding season.
Date Beach & sector Nesting
Clutch Emergence success

24 Nov 03

Mon Repos 6.0 Laid 136 eggs  
11 Dec 03 Mon Repos 7.0 Laid Not counted  
26 Dec 03 Oaks Beach Did not lay   
26 Dec 03 Mon Repos 6.0 Laid 120 eggs  
28 Dec 03 Mon Repos 14.0 Released   
14 Jan 04 Mon Repos 7.1 Laid 130 eggs
Dr Col Limpus with K33061

After completion of laying she was removed from the beach and held at the Mon Repos Conservation Park research laboratory where her gonads were examined using ultrasound and laparoscopy before she was fitted with the PPT.

  • Ultrasound examination: No oviducal eggs - she had not been disturbed during her nesting. There were sufficient mature follicles in the ovaries for her to return to lay probably only one more clutch; some mature-sized follicles had begun resorption (atresia).
  • Laparoscopic examination: No oviducal eggs. Numerous mature follicles on the ovaries, sufficient to produce one more clutch. Numerous mature-sized follicles and all less-than-mature-sized follicles had begun resorption (atresia). No corpora albicantia visible.
    Conclusions: This was indeed her first breeding season. She prepared five clutches of mature follicles for her breeding migration but she will lay only four clutches of eggs. The remaining clutch of follicles is being resorbed.
  • PTT identification = 7224.
    • Telonics ST14 that has been re-batteried by Sirtrack with D cell batteries.
    • Duty cycle: 6 hours on, 6 hours off; switched on at 03.00hr EST on 27 December 2003.
    • Repetition cycle: =30 seconds.
    • PTT weight = 0.63kg
  • 28 December 2003: released from Mon Repos beach sector 14.0 at 16.10hr EST.

Turtle transmitter sponsored by Seaworld Research and Rescue Foundation.