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ESR 41:183-196 (2020)  -  DOI:

Multiple-threats analysis for loggerhead sea turtles in the southwest Atlantic Ocean

Milagros López-Mendilaharsu1,*, Bruno Giffoni1, Danielle Monteiro2,3, Laura Prosdocimi4, Gabriela M. Vélez-Rubio5,6, Alejandro Fallabrino5, Andrés Estrades5, Alexsandro Santana dos Santos1, Paulo H. Lara1, Thais Pires1, Manjula Tiwari7, Alan B. Bolten8, Maria Ângela Marcovaldi1

1Fundação Pró-Tamar, Rua Rubens Guelli 134/ 307, Itaigara - Salvador, CEP: 41815-135 Bahia, Brazil
2Núcleo de Educação e Monitoramento Ambiental - NEMA, Rua Maria Araújo 450, 96207-480 Rio Grande, RS, Brazil
3Laboratório de Ecologia e Conservação da Megafauna Marinha, EcoMega, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande, FURG, 96203-900 Rio Grande, RS, Brazil
4Programa Regional de Investigación y Conservación de Tortugas Marinas de la Argentina (PRICTMA), 1609 Buenos Aires, Argentina
5Karumbé NGO, Zoo Villa Dolores, 11600 Montevideo, Uruguay
6Centro Universitario Regional del Este (CURE), Universidad de la República, 27000 Rocha, Uruguay
7NOAA-National Marine Fisheries Service, Marine Turtle Ecology & Assessment Program, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, La Jolla, California 92034, USA
8Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research and Department of Biology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Priority-setting approaches for widely distributed and long-lived species can be challenging. This is especially true for sea turtles, which are species of conservation concern. The aim of this study was to conduct a detailed analysis of threats to identify, quantify and prioritize the main impacts to the loggerhead Caretta caretta population in the southwest Atlantic (SWA) region. A matrix of relative threats was constructed. Threats were identified and classified for 8 different life stages (nesting females, eggs, hatchlings, swim-frenzy transitional stage, juveniles-neritic, juveniles-oceanic, adults-neritic, adults-oceanic) and for 3 ecosystems inhabited by sea turtles (terrestrial, neritic and oceanic). Results indicated that fisheries bycatch represents a major threat for loggerheads in the SWA. The trawl fishery was identified as the main source of mortality for neritic juvenile and adult turtles, whereas juveniles in oceanic areas are mostly impacted by surface longlines. In terrestrial environments, eggs and hatchlings are mainly affected by habitat alteration and by native and exotic predators. Loggerheads have shown a positive nesting trend at their main nesting beaches in the SWA, probably due to long-term conservation efforts to reduce mortality of the different life stages within the terrestrial zone. However, the high mortality rates of juveniles and sub-adults documented at some known foraging grounds represent a reason for concern, as this may affect the overall population trend in the future. This threat analysis provides a tool to review the goals of national action plans, prioritize actions and optimize the allocation of management resources.

KEY WORDS: Caretta caretta · Sea turtle life stages · Conservation · Bycatch · Longline fishery · Trawl fishery · Management actions · Prioritization

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Cite this article as: López-Mendilaharsu M, Giffoni B, Monteiro D, Prosdocimi L and others (2020) Multiple-threats analysis for loggerhead sea turtles in the southwest Atlantic Ocean. Endang Species Res 41:183-196.

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