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ESR 52:303-341 (2023)  -  DOI:

Key issues in assessing threats to sea turtles: knowledge gaps and future directions

Mariana M. P. B. Fuentes1,*, Erin McMichael2, Connie Y. Kot3, Ian Silver-Gorges1, Bryan P. Wallace4, Brendan J. Godley5, Annabelle M. L. Brooks6, Simona A. Ceriani7, Adriana A. Cortés-Gómez8, Tiffany M. Dawson9, Kara L. Dodge10, Mark Flint11, Michael P. Jensen12,13, Lisa M. Komoroske14, Sara Kophamel15, Matthew D. Lettrich2, Christopher A. Long16, Sarah E. Nelms5, Ana R. Patrício5,17, Nathan J. Robinson18,19, Jeffrey A. Seminoff20, Matthew Ware21, Elizabeth R. Whitman22, Damien Chevallier23, Chelsea E. Clyde-Brockway24,25, Sumedha A. Korgaonkar26, Agnese Mancini27, Juliana Mello-Fonseca28, Jonathan R. Monsinjon29, Isabella Neves-Ferreira28, Anna A. Ortega30, Samir H. Patel31, Joseph B. Pfaller32, Matthew D. Ramirez33, Cheila Raposo17, Caitlin E. Smith34, F. Alberto Abreu-Grobois35, Graeme C. Hays36

1Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida 32306, USA
2ECS Federal in support of Office of Science and Technology, NOAA Fisheries, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910, USA
3Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, 135 Duke Marine Lab Road, Beaufort, North Carolina 28516, USA
4Ecolibrium, Inc., 5343 Aztec Drive, Boulder, Colorado 80303, USA
5Centre for Ecology and Conservation, University of Exeter, Cornwall TR10 9EZ, UK
6Cape Eleuthera Institute, PO Box EL-26029 Rock Sound, Eleuthera, The Bahamas
7Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, St. Petersburg, Florida 33701, USA
8Laboratoire Ecologie, Systématique et Evolution, Equipe de Processus Ecologiques et Pressions Anthropiques, Université Paris-Saclay, 91405 Bures-Sur-Yvette Cedex, France
9Marine Turtle Research Group, Department of Biology, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida 32816, USA
10Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life, New England Aquarium, Central Wharf, Boston, Massachusetts 02110, USA
11One Welfare and Sustainability Center, Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA
12Department of Chemistry and Bioscience, Aalborg University, Fredrik Bajers Vej 7H, 9220 Aalborg Øst, Denmark
13Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University, Nathan, Queensland 4111, Australia
14Department of Environmental Conservation, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts 01003, USA
15Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, John Gorton Building, King Edward Terrace, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2600, Australia
16School of Forest, Fisheries, and Geomatic Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611-0410, USA
17Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre (MARE)/Aquatic Research Network (ARNET), Instituto Universitário (ISPA), 1149-041 Lisbon, Portugal
18Institut de Ciencies del Mar (ICM), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta 37, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
19Fundación Oceanogràfic de la Comunitat Valenciana, Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, Carrer d’Eduardo Primo Yúfera 1B, 46013 Valencia, Spain
20NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center, 8901 La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla, California 90237, USA
21Center for Marine Science, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, North Carolina 28409, USA
22Department of Biological Sciences, Institute of Environment, Florida International University, North Miami, Florida 33181, USA
23BOREA Research Unit, MNHN, CNRS, Sorbonne Université, IRD, UCN, UA, Campus Martinique, 97217 Les Anses d’Arlet, Martinique, French West Indies, France
24Purdue University Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46805, USA
25The Leatherback Trust, Avenida Central, Calle 35, San José, Costa Rica
26Department of Endangered Species Management, Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, Utarakhand 248001, India
27Grupo Tortuguero de las Californias, La Paz, Baja California Sur 23098, Mexico
28Reef System Ecology and Conservation Lab, Department of Marine Biology, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Niterói, Rio de Janeiro 24210-201, Brazil
29Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER), Délégation Océan Indien (DOI), 97420 Le Port, La Réunion, France
30The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, Western Australia 6009, Australia
31Coonamessett Farm Foundation, 277 Hatchville Road, East Falmouth, Massachusetts 02536, USA
32NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center, 75 Virginia Beach Drive, Miami, Florida 33149, USA
33Department of Biology and Marine Biology, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, North Carolina 28403, USA
34School of Science, Technology and Engineering, University of the Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs, Queensland 4556, Australia
35Unidad Académica Mazatlán, Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Apartado Postal 811, Mazatlán, Sinaloa 82000, Mexico
36School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria 3125, Australia
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Sea turtles are an iconic group of marine megafauna that have been exposed to multiple anthropogenic threats across their different life stages, especially in the past decades. This has resulted in population declines, and consequently many sea turtle populations are now classified as threatened or endangered globally. Although some populations of sea turtles worldwide are showing early signs of recovery, many still face fundamental threats. This is problematic since sea turtles have important ecological roles. To encourage informed conservation planning and direct future research, we surveyed experts to identify the key contemporary threats (climate change, direct take, fisheries, pollution, disease, predation, and coastal and marine development) faced by sea turtles. Using the survey results and current literature, we also outline knowledge gaps in our understanding of the impact of these threats and how targeted future research, often involving emerging technologies, could close those gaps.

KEY WORDS: Climate change · Illegal take · Fisheries · Pollution · Disease · Marine development · Marine turtles · Coastal development

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Cite this article as: Fuentes MMPB, McMichael E, Kot CY, Silver-Gorges I and others (2023) Key issues in assessing threats to sea turtles: knowledge gaps and future directions. Endang Species Res 52:303-341.

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