ESR 24:85-93 (2014)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00588

Genetic composition of loggerhead turtle feeding aggregations: migration patterns in the North Pacific

Hideaki Nishizawa1,*, Tomoko Narazaki2,5, Takuya Fukuoka2, Katsufumi Sato2, Tomoko Hamabata3, Masato Kinoshita4, Nobuaki Arai1,6

1Graduate School of Informatics, Kyoto University, Yoshida Honmachi, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan
2Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-8564, Japan
3Graduate School of Science and 4Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Kitashirakawa Oiwake-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan
5Present address: Sea Mammal Research Unit, School of Biology, University of St Andrews, Fife KY16 8LB, UK
6Present address:
Field Science Education and Research Center, Kyoto University, Kitashirakawa Oiwake-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta is highly migratory and undertakes transoceanic migrations. In the North Pacific, loggerhead turtles that hatch on Japanese beaches reach the vicinity of Baja California in the eastern Pacific. As they grow, they return and recruit to the feeding areas around Japan. By using mtDNA control-region sequences, we identified the genetic composition of the feeding aggregation around the Sanriku coastal area (n = 107), >500 km north of the main nesting beaches of Japan and located on the north of the Japanese mainland. Performing a mixed-stock analysis using the published data from 5 Japanese nesting rookeries (n = 279 in total) as sources, the origin of the feeding aggregation was estimated with Bayesian statistics. The results indicated a high contribution from the southern rookeries (mean ≥ 82.10%), mainly the Yakushima rookery (mean ≥ 51.45%), to the Sanriku feeding aggregation, whether the number of nests was considered as an informative prior or not. Therefore, the Sanriku coastal area is estimated to be utilized by loggerhead turtles born in the southern nesting rookeries relatively far from Sanriku. The strong connectivity between loggerheads from the Sanriku feeding aggregation and the southern Japanese rookeries suggests that loggerhead turtles in the North Pacific generally settle in the Japanese coastal areas in the large juvenile stage, but not in the direct vicinity of their natal sites, and some juveniles that use an oceanic feeding strategy are recruited to the Sanriku coastal area.


KEY WORDS: mtDNA · Haplotype · Mixed-stock analysis · Japan · Juvenile · Recruitment


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Cite this article as: Nishizawa H, Narazaki T, Fukuoka T, Sato K, Hamabata T, Kinoshita M, Arai N (2014) Genetic composition of loggerhead turtle feeding aggregations: migration patterns in the North Pacific. Endang Species Res 24:85-93. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00588

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