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4 July 2022 Satellite Telemetry Elucidates Migratory Pathways and Foraging Areas for Hawksbill Sea Turtles, Eretmochelys imbricata, in the Caribbean
Andrew S. Maurer, Clara Dawson, Rhema Bjorkland, Andrea Donaldson, Seth P. Stapleton, James I. Richardson, Denise M. Parker, George H. Balazs, Barbara A. Schroeder
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Abstract

Adult female sea turtles are highly migratory, moving between foraging and nesting areas that can be thousands of kilometers apart. Conserving sea turtles and their habitats therefore depends on knowledge of space use across these migration-linked environments. Here, we describe migratory behavior of hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), a globally imperiled species. We used satellite telemetry to characterize the movements of females from nesting areas in Jamaica (n = 4) and Antigua (n = 4), West Indies, over 1998–2001. We mapped migrations and summarized space use during inter-nesting and foraging periods with kernel utilization distributions (UDs) and minimum convex polygons. Seven of eight turtles made post-nesting migrations, with paths ranging 56–1324 km in length, representing straight-line displacements of 68–1206 km. Two turtles sampled in southern Jamaica made short-range migrations within southern Jamaican waters, whereas two from northern Jamaica migrated further to foraging areas in the waters of Belize and Honduras. Three migrants sampled at Long Island, Antigua migrated to St. Eustatius, St. Kitts, and Redonda, respectively, with a fourth individual remaining resident in northeastern Antigua. Inter-nesting movements observed for three turtles produced 50% UDs ranging 12–44 km2, with centroid depths between 4–13 m. Foraging UDs for seven turtles spanned 8–111 km2 and 2–161 m in depth. Our results reveal variable migratory strategies, demonstrate international connectivity between hawksbill foraging and nesting habitats, and provide important information for Caribbean conservation efforts such as the design of protected areas or fisheries policies.

© Copyright 2022 by the College of Arts and Sciences of the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez
Andrew S. Maurer, Clara Dawson, Rhema Bjorkland, Andrea Donaldson, Seth P. Stapleton, James I. Richardson, Denise M. Parker, George H. Balazs, and Barbara A. Schroeder "Satellite Telemetry Elucidates Migratory Pathways and Foraging Areas for Hawksbill Sea Turtles, Eretmochelys imbricata, in the Caribbean," Caribbean Journal of Science 52(1), 126-141, (4 July 2022). https://doi.org/10.18475/cjos.v52i1.a10
Published: 4 July 2022
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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