Food selection and habitat use patterns of immature green turtles (Chelonia mydas) on Caribbean seagrass beds dominated by the alien species Halophila stipulacea

Type Article
Date 2022-09
Language English
Author(s) Siegwalt Flora1, Jeantet Lorène1, Lelong Pierre1, Martin Jordan1, Girondot Marc2, Bustamante Paco3, 4, Benhalilou Abdelwahab5, Murgale Céline5, Andreani Lucas5, Jacaria François5, Campistron Guilhem5, Lathière Anthony5, Barotin Charlène6, Buret-Rochas Gaëlle6, Barre Philippe6, Hielard Gaëlle7, Arqué Alexandre7, Régis Sidney1, Lecerf Nicolas1, Frouin Cédric1, Lefebvre Fabien8, Aubert Nathalie8, Arthus Mosiah9, Etienne Denis10, Allenou Jean-PierreORCID11, Delnatte César12, Lafolle Rachelle5, Thobor Florence9, Chevallier Pascale5, Chevallier Tao5, Lepori Muriel5, Assio Cindy1, Grand Clément1, Bonola Marc1, Tursi Yannick13, Varkala Pierre-Walter13, Meslier Stéphane14, Landreau Anthony14, Le Maho Yvon1, Habold Caroline1, Robin Jean-Patrice1, Chevallier Damien1, 9
Affiliation(s) 1 : Université de Strasbourg, CNRS, IPHC UMR 7178, 23 rue Becquerel, 67000 Strasbourg, France
2 : Laboratoire Écologie, Systématique, Évolution, AgroParisTech, CNRS, Université Paris Saclay, 91405 Orsay, France
3 : Littoral Environnement et Sociétés (LIENSs), UMR 7266 CNRS - La Rochelle Université, 2 rue Olympe de Gouges, 17000 La Rochelle, France
4 : Institut Universitaire de France (IUF), 1 Rue Descartes, 75005 Paris, France
5 : Association POEMM, 73 lot papayers, Anse à l'âne, 97229 Les Trois Ilets, France
6 : Laboratoire URP3F, INRAe Nouvelle-Aquitaine-Poitiers, Le Chêne RD 150, CS 80006, 86600 Lusignan, France
7 : Office de l’Eau Martinique, 7 Avenue Condorcet, BP 32, 97201 Fort-de-France, France
8 : Association ACWAA, rue grand fleur, quartier Epinay, 97228 Sainte-Luce, France
9 : BOREA Research Unit, MNHN, CNRS 7208, Sorbonne Université, IRD 207, UCN, UA, Paris, France
10 : DEAL Martinique, Pointe de Jaham, BP 7212, 97274 Schoelcher Cedex, France
11 : IFREMER, Unité Biodiversité et Environnement de la Martinique, 79 route de Pointe-Fort, 97231 Le Robert, France
12 : Biotope, Agence Amazonie, 3 rue Mézin Gildon, 397354 Rémire-Montjoly, France
13 : Calypso croisières, 33 rue Robert Deloy, 97217 Les Anses d’Arlet, France
14 : ANSLO-S Association naturaliste de soutien logistique à la science, 7 Avenue Georges Clémenceau, 49280 La Tessoualle, France
Source Global Ecology And Conservation (2351-9894) (Elsevier BV), 2022-09 , Vol. 37 , P. e02169 (13p.)
DOI 10.1016/j.gecco.2022.e02169
Keyword(s) Plant-herbivore interactions, Sea turtle, Invasive species, Foraging behavior, Diet, Martinique

Marine herbivores face rapid changes in the coastal ecosystems where they forage. In the Caribbean, the recent and fast expansion of the invasive phanerogam species Halophila stipulacea is threatening native seagrass ecosystems. So far, H. stipulacea is escaping most Caribbean herbivores, certainly because of its recent introduction or lower nutritional value. We investigated the impact of H. stipulacea invasion on fine-scale foraging habitat selection and food resource selection of immature green turtles at critical foraging sites in Les Anses d’Arlet, Martinique. The analysis of seagrass distribution and nutritional content, together with turtle behaviour and resource selection, showed that H. stipulacea may be of contrasting interest to green turtles. Compositional analysis confirmed the lower nutritional value of H. stipulacea compared to the native species, but the invasive species showed higher digestibility than native ones, which calls into question the energetic advantage of consuming the native plants over the exotic plant. Thus, although green turtles mostly selected the native seagrass Thalassia testudinum in multispecies seagrass beds, some individuals fed on H. stipulacea. Accordingly, in bays entirely invaded by H. stipulacea, one possibility for resident green turtles is to increase foraging on this species, but, if so, the consequences on their growth and survival still remain to be determined. As the expansion of H. stipulacea may have been facilitated by factors such as shipping, anchor scarring and fishing activities, protection of native seagrass beds and immature green turtles from human disturbances is urgently required to ensure the long-term adaptation of green turtles to this new foraging environment.

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Siegwalt Flora, Jeantet Lorène, Lelong Pierre, Martin Jordan, Girondot Marc, Bustamante Paco, Benhalilou Abdelwahab, Murgale Céline, Andreani Lucas, Jacaria François, Campistron Guilhem, Lathière Anthony, Barotin Charlène, Buret-Rochas Gaëlle, Barre Philippe, Hielard Gaëlle, Arqué Alexandre, Régis Sidney, Lecerf Nicolas, Frouin Cédric, Lefebvre Fabien, Aubert Nathalie, Arthus Mosiah, Etienne Denis, Allenou Jean-Pierre, Delnatte César, Lafolle Rachelle, Thobor Florence, Chevallier Pascale, Chevallier Tao, Lepori Muriel, Assio Cindy, Grand Clément, Bonola Marc, Tursi Yannick, Varkala Pierre-Walter, Meslier Stéphane, Landreau Anthony, Le Maho Yvon, Habold Caroline, Robin Jean-Patrice, Chevallier Damien (2022). Food selection and habitat use patterns of immature green turtles (Chelonia mydas) on Caribbean seagrass beds dominated by the alien species Halophila stipulacea. Global Ecology And Conservation, 37, e02169 (13p.). Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :