Inter-Research > MEPS > v498 > p263-274  
Marine Ecology Progress Series

via Mailchimp

MEPS 498:263-274 (2014)  -  DOI:

The first ‘lost year’ of Mediterranean sea turtles: dispersal patterns indicate subregional management units for conservation

Paolo Casale1,2,*, Patrizio Mariani3

1Department of Biology and Biotechnologies ‘Charles Darwin’, University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’, viale dell’Università 32,
00185 Roma, Italy
2Centre for Ecology & Conservation, University of Exeter, Cornwall Campus, Cornwall TR10 9EZ, UK
3Center for Ocean Life, National Institute for Aquatic Resources, Technical University of Denmark, Kavalergaarden 6,
2920 Charlottenlund, Denmark
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Identifying highly frequented areas is a priority for sea turtle conservation, and the distribution of young individuals in open waters represents a major knowledge gap due to methodological biases. The drift of hatchlings from 38 loggerhead Caretta caretta and 10 green Chelonia mydas turtle nesting sites in the Mediterranean was simulated for the first 6 mo of life, with simulations repeated for 5 different years (2001 through 2005). Results indicate that hatchlings from the Levantine and south-central Mediterranean sites are mainly retained in the same areas of origin, while those from the Ionian area mainly disperse to the Ionian, Adriatic and south-central Mediterranean areas. Combining hatchling dispersal with existing empirical information on juveniles and adults, a general distribution model among nesting sites, and oceanic and neritic foraging grounds for Mediterranean sea turtles is proposed. The Levantine zone may be particularly key for the conservation of the Mediterranean populations of both species, since it may host the highest concentration of individuals. Subregional management units identified by dispersal patterns may facilitate turtle conservation through a relatively small-scale international approach. In-water studies in specific zones are identified as a research priority for improving current knowledge and informing conservation plans.

KEY WORDS: Caretta caretta · Chelonia mydas · Loggerhead turtle · Green turtle · Dispersal · Conservation · Mediterranean

Full text in pdf format
Supplementary material 
Cite this article as: Casale P, Mariani P (2014) The first ‘lost year’ of Mediterranean sea turtles: dispersal patterns indicate subregional management units for conservation. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 498:263-274.

Export citation
RSS - Facebook - - linkedIn