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Hydrodynamic effect of a satellite transmitter on a juvenile green turtle (Chelonia mydas)
KP Watson, RA Granger


Wind tunnel tests were performed to measure the effect of a satellite transmitter on a juvenile green turtle (Chelonia mydas). A full-scale turtle model was constructed from an 11.5 kg specimen with a 48 cm carapace length, and a transmitter model was constructed from a Telonics ST-6. The turtle model was tested in a wind tunnel with and without the transmitter, which was mounted on the forward, topmost part of the carapace. Drag, lift and pitch moment were measured for several speeds and flow angles, and the data were scaled for application to the marine environment. At small flow angles representative of straight-line swimming, the transmitter increased drag by 27-30 %, reduced lift by less than 10 % and increased the pitch moment by 11-42 %. On the basis of the drag data at zero angle of attack, it is estimated that the backpack will reduce swimming speed by 11 %, assuming that the turtle produces the same thrust with the unit attached. The drag data are also used to estimate the effect of a transmitter on the swimming energetics of an adult green turtle. Design guidelines are included to minimize the adverse forces and moments caused by the transmitter.