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Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics

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ESEP 17:19-27 (2017)  -  DOI:

Open Data requirements for applied ecology and conservation: case study of a wide-ranging marine vertebrate

Gail Schofield*

Deakin University, Geelong, Australia. School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Centre for Integrative Ecology, Warrnambool, VIC 3280, Australia
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Wide-ranging animals often traverse more than one country, making it important to establish international management co-operations and agreed protocols; however, accessing all available information on a given species, or even a population of interest, compiled by local, national and international organisations, is often complicated. In the case of sea turtles, this issue is further compounded because different life stages of the same population occupy different types of habitat; even as adults, while part of the population aggregates to breed at a single site in a given year, all other adult individuals are dispersed across foraging habitats up to 1000 km or more in distance. Information on the number of individuals, movement patterns and habitat use are needed to: (1) identify, select and conserve key breeding, foraging and developmental habitat effectively, (2) develop realistic models to predict current and future threat status of animals as accurately as possible, and (3) mitigate pressures operating in distant areas that, otherwise, might not be detected or linked to the population of interest. Here, I use sea turtles as a case study to show how our current knowledge on wide-ranging marine species is currently incomplete and, in many cases, disjointed. In particular, different techniques are often used to assimilate different types of information in different settings for different purposes (e.g. mark-recapture, genetics, strandings and nesting data). Ultimately, opening access to these data sources would facilitate major advances in research, as well as the transfer of knowledge and information to practitioners, allowing the effective implementation of conservation management.

KEY WORDS: Open Access · Open Data · Data integration · Modelling · Species extinction · Wildlife · Natural resource management

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Cite this article as: Schofield G (2017) Open Data requirements for applied ecology and conservation: case study of a wide-ranging marine vertebrate. Ethics Sci Environ Polit 17:19-27.

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