Spatiotemporal hotspots of habitat use by loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and green (Chelonia mydas) sea turtles in the Levant basin as tools for conservation

Spatiotemporal hotspots of habitat use by loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and green (Chelonia mydas) sea turtles in the Levant basin as tools for conservation

By: Levy Y., Keren T., Leader N., Weil G., Tchernov D., Rilov G.
Published in: Marine Ecology Progress Series
SDGs : SDG 14  |  Units: Marine Sciences  | Time: 2017 |  Link
Description: Understanding the spatiotemporal abundance of loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and green (Chelonia mydas) sea turtles is cru cial for marine conservation. In Israel, at the south-eastern Levant Sea, 10 loggerhead (8 females, 2 males) and 5 green (3 females, 2 males) sea turtles were tracked via satellite telemetry tags. Turtles were tagged post nesting (n = 8) or prior to their release following rehabilitation (n = 7, 3 females and 4 males, all sub-adults to adults). Tracked sea turtles spent their time foraging in a median of 137 km2 core home range (50% kernel density estimation). Home range size increased to a median of 464 km2 during the inter-nesting season. Migration varied widely, ranging from 87 km from the tagging site in 1 turtle (near residency) to >3000 km in 2 other turtles. Most turtles migrated short distances within the south-eastern Levant Sea, which seems to be a multifunctional habitat for reproduction, migration and foraging. A large proportion of the migrations (72%) occurred along the coastline and the rest were in open waters. These new insights regarding the spatial distribution of sea turtles over the course of the year may potentially be translated into conservation guidelines, such as seasonal fishing restrictions, and management and planning of marine protected areas in the south-eastern Mediterranean Sea. © Inter-Research 2017.

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