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ESR prepress abstract   -  DOI:

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

Mariana M. P. B. Fuentes*, Erin McMichael, Connie Y. Kot, Ian Silver-Gorges, Bryan P. Wallace, Brendan J. Godley, Annabelle M. L. Brooks, Simona A. Ceriani, Adriana A. Cortés-Gómez, Tiffany M. Dawson, Kara. L. Dodge, Mark Flint, Michael P. Jensen, Lisa M. Komoroske, Sara Kophamel, Matthew D. Lettrich, Christopher A. Long, Sarah E. Nelms, Ana R. Patrício, Nathan J. Robinson, Jeffrey A. Seminoff, Matthew Ware, Elizabeth R. Whitman, Damien Chevallier, Chelsea E. Clyde-Brockway, Sumedha A. Korgaonkar, Agnese Mancini, Juliana Mello Fonseca, Jonathan R. Monsinjon, Isabella Neves-Ferreira, Anna A. Ortega, Samir H. Patel, Joseph B. Pfaller, Matthew D. Ramirez, Cheila Raposo, Caitlin E. Smith, F. Alberto Abreu-Grobois, Graeme C. Hays

*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 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.