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11 January 2017 Home Range and Movement Patterns of Subadult Hawksbill Sea Turtles in Southeast Florida
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Abstract
Subadult Hawksbill Turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) reside on the coral reefs of Palm Beach County, Florida, but their movements and patterns of habitat use are poorly understood. In this study, six subadult Hawksbills were tracked with global positioning system (GPS)–linked satellite telemetry for a span of 102–429 days Total home ranges and within-range areas of “core” use were measured with minimum convex polygons (MCPs) and kernel density estimates (KDEs). Home-range estimates ranged 1.1–19.0 km2 (X = 10.1 km2) using MCP and 0.01–1.2 km2 (X = 0.49 km2) using the 95% KDE. Each turtle remained at or near the 15–25 m hard-bottom reef habitats of the area and exhibited strong site fidelity to centrally located core use areas (50% and 25% KDE >,0.03 km2); this was especially true at night, suggesting the repeated use of familiar refuges (shipwrecks/caves) for nocturnal shelter. Likely driven by predator avoidance, competition for a limited number of preferred refuges, or “roosts,” may restrict the extent of each turtle's home range and influence the abundance and distribution of the Hawksbill Turtles that occupy this site.
Copyright 2017 Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles
Lawrence D. Wood, Barbara Brunnick and Sarah L. Milton "Home Range and Movement Patterns of Subadult Hawksbill Sea Turtles in Southeast Florida," Journal of Herpetology 51(1), (11 January 2017). https://doi.org/10.1670/15-133
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