Reproductive seasonality and trend of Chelonia mydas in the SW Indian Ocean: a 20 yr study based on track counts

Type Article
Date 2007-08-15
Language English
Author(s) Lauret-Stepler Marie, Bourjea JeromeORCID, Roos DavidORCID, Pelletier DominiqueORCID, Ryan P.G., Ciccione Stephane, Grizel Henri
Source Endangered Species Research (1613-4796) (Inter-Research), 2007-08-15 , Vol. 3 , P. 217-227
DOI 10.3354/esr003217
Abstract The green turtle Chelonia mydas is classified as endangered because of global declines over the past few centuries due to human exploitation and habitat destruction, particularly the loss of nesting areas. We used the number of tracks as an indicator of breeding female abundance at their nesting sites to study the seasonality and trends of turtles breeding at 3 islands in the SW Indian Ocean: Europa, Tromelin and Grande Glorieuse, over 20 yr. On Tromelin, tracks were counted along the entire nesting beach, but on Europa and Grande Glorieuse counts were limited to a proportion of the island. Europa and Tromelin exhibited similar seasonal patterns, with a well-defined peak during the wet season (November–February), compared to a dry season peak for Grande Glorieuse (March–June). The main season was significantly longer on Grande Glorieuse (288 ± 43 d) than on Europa (218 ± 60 d), with Tromelin intermediate (252 ± 43 d). There was greater variation in the start of a season compared to the median and end at all sites throughout the study. Approximately 7178 ± 3053 (n = 19) tracks were recorded annually on the entire nesting beach on Tromelin, compared with 1480 ± 666 (n = 19) on 16% of nesting beaches on Grande Glorieuse and 1361 ± 903 (n = 23) on 26% of beaches on Europa. The number of tracks has increased significantly on Europa (3% yr–1) and Grande Glorieuse (6% yr–1). The increasing number of nesting turtles illustrates the effectiveness of conservation measures on sites formerly exploited by humans.
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Lauret-Stepler Marie, Bourjea Jerome, Roos David, Pelletier Dominique, Ryan P.G., Ciccione Stephane, Grizel Henri (2007). Reproductive seasonality and trend of Chelonia mydas in the SW Indian Ocean: a 20 yr study based on track counts. Endangered Species Research, 3, 217-227. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :