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

Yaniv Levy, Tal Keren, Noam Leader, Gilad Weil, Dan Tchernov, Gil Rilov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Understanding the spatiotemporal abundance of loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and green (Chelonia mydas) sea turtles is crucial 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-179
Number of pages15
JournalMarine Ecology - Progress Series
Volume575
DOIs
StatePublished - 20 Jul 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Inter-Research 2017.

Keywords

  • Conservation
  • Feeding grounds
  • Green sea turtle
  • Home range
  • Loggerhead sea turtle
  • MPA
  • Marine protected area
  • Migration corridors
  • Seasonal patterns

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology

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