Connecting paths between juvenile and adult habitats in the Atlantic green turtle using genetics and satellite tracking

Type Article
Date 2018-12
Language English
Author(s) Chambault Philippine1, de Thoisy Benoît2, Huguin Maïlis2, Martin Jordan1, Bonola Marc1, Etienne Denis3, Gresser Julie3, Hiélard Gaëlle4, Mailles Julien3, Védie Fabien3, Barnerias Cyrille3, Sutter Emmanuel3, Guillemot Blandine5, Dumont‐dayot Émilie5, Régis Sidney1, Lecerf Nicolas1, Lefebvre Fabien1, Frouin Cédric1, Aubert Nathalie1, Guimera Christelle6, Bordes Robinson1, Thieulle Laurent1, Duru Matthieu1, Bouaziz Myriam1, Pinson Adrien6, Flora Frédéric1, Queneherve Patrick7, Woignier Thierry7, 8, Allenou Jean-PierreORCID9, Cimiterra Nicolas9, Benhalilou Abdelwahab10, Murgale Céline10, Maillet Thomas10, Rangon Luc7, 8, Chanteux Noémie6, Chanteur Bénédicte11, Béranger Christelle11, Le Maho Yvon1, Petit Odile12, Chevallier Damien1
Affiliation(s) 1 : CNRS‐IPHC UMR 7178 Université de Strasbourg Strasbourg Cedex 2, France
2 : Association Kwata, Cayenne Cedex ,France
3 : DEAL Martinique, Pointe de Jaham Schoelcher Cedex ,France
4 : Office de l'Eau Martinique, Fort‐de‐France ,France
5 : Section Boisbert Délégation Inter Régionale Outre‐mer, Chemin de Boyer Lamentin ,France
6 : Surfrider Foundation, Europe Martinique ,France
7 : IRD Martinique‐Caraïbe Le Lamentin Cédex 2 ,France
8 : CNRS, IRD, IMBE Aix Marseille University, University Avignon Marseille, France
9 : IFREMER,Délégation de Martinique Le Robert ,France
10 : Association POEMM, Les Trois Ilets ,France
11 : PNR Martinique Fort‐de‐France, France
12 : CNRS ,Équipe d'Éthologie Cognitive et Sociale Strasbourg ,France
Source Ecology And Evolution (2045-7758) (Wiley), 2018-12 , Vol. 8 , N. 24 , P. 12790-12802
DOI 10.1002/ece3.4708
WOS© Times Cited 23
Keyword(s) Chelonia mydas, developmental habitats, immature green turtle, migration routes, mixed stock analysis

Although it is commonly assumed that female sea turtles always return to the beach they hatched, the pathways they use during the years preceding their first reproduction and their natal origins are most often unknown, as it is the case for juvenile green turtles found in Martinique waters in the Caribbean. Given the oceanic circulation of the Guiana current flowing toward Martinique and the presence of important nesting sites for this species in Suriname and French Guiana, we may assume that a large proportion of the juvenile green turtles found in Martinique are originating from the Suriname–French Guiana beaches. To confirm this hypothesis, we performed mixed stock analysis (MSA) on 40 green turtles sampled in Martinique Island and satellite tracked 31 juvenile green turtles tagged in Martinique to (a) assess their natal origin and (b) identify their destination. Our results from MSA confirm that these juveniles are descendant from females laying on several Caribbean and Atlantic beaches, mostly from Suriname and French Guiana, but also from more southern Brazilian beaches. These results were confirmed by the tracking data as the 10 turtles leaving Martinique headed across the Caribbean–Atlantic region in six different directions and 50% of these turtles reached the Brazilian foraging grounds used by the adult green turtles coming from French Guiana. One turtle left the French Guianan coast to perform the first transatlantic migration ever recorded in juvenile green turtles, swimming toward Guinea‐Bissau, which is the most important nesting site for green turtles along the African coast. The extensive movements of the migrant turtles evidenced the crossing of international waters and more than 25 exclusive economic zones, reinforcing the need for an international cooperative network to ensure the conservation of future breeders in this endangered species.

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Chambault Philippine, de Thoisy Benoît, Huguin Maïlis, Martin Jordan, Bonola Marc, Etienne Denis, Gresser Julie, Hiélard Gaëlle, Mailles Julien, Védie Fabien, Barnerias Cyrille, Sutter Emmanuel, Guillemot Blandine, Dumont‐dayot Émilie, Régis Sidney, Lecerf Nicolas, Lefebvre Fabien, Frouin Cédric, Aubert Nathalie, Guimera Christelle, Bordes Robinson, Thieulle Laurent, Duru Matthieu, Bouaziz Myriam, Pinson Adrien, Flora Frédéric, Queneherve Patrick, Woignier Thierry, Allenou Jean-Pierre, Cimiterra Nicolas, Benhalilou Abdelwahab, Murgale Céline, Maillet Thomas, Rangon Luc, Chanteux Noémie, Chanteur Bénédicte, Béranger Christelle, Le Maho Yvon, Petit Odile, Chevallier Damien (2018). Connecting paths between juvenile and adult habitats in the Atlantic green turtle using genetics and satellite tracking. Ecology And Evolution, 8(24), 12790-12802. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :