Global conservation priorities for marine turtles

Wallace, Bryan P., DiMatteo, Andrew D., Bolten, Alan B., Chaloupka, Milani Y., Hutchinson, Brian J., Abreu-Grobois, F. Alberto, Mortimer, Jeanne A., Seminoff, Jeffery A., Amorocho, Diego, Bjorndal, Karen A., Bourjea, Jérôme, Bowen, Brian W., Dueñas, Raquel Briseño, Casale, Paolo, Choudhury, B.C., Costa, Alice, Dutton, Peter H., Fallabrino, Alejandro, Finkbeiner, Elena M., Girard, Alexandre, Girondot, Marc, Hamann, Mark, Hurley, Brendan J., López-Mendilaharsu, Milagros, Marcovaldi, Maria Angela, Musick, John A., Nel, Ronel, Pilcher, Nicolas J., Troëng, Sebastian, Witherington, Blair, and Mast, Roderic B. (2011) Global conservation priorities for marine turtles. PLoS ONE, 6 (9). pp. 1-14.

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Abstract

Where conservation resources are limited and conservation targets are diverse, robust yet flexible priority-setting frameworks are vital. Priority-setting is especially important for geographically widespread species with distinct populations subject to multiple threats that operate on different spatial and temporal scales. Marine turtles are widely distributed and exhibit intra-specific variations in population sizes and trends, as well as reproduction and morphology. However, current global extinction risk assessment frameworks do not assess conservation status of spatially and biologically distinct marine turtle Regional Management Units (RMUs), and thus do not capture variations in population trends, impacts of threats, or necessary conservation actions across individual populations. To address this issue, we developed a new assessment framework that allowed us to evaluate, compare and organize marine turtle RMUs according to status and threats criteria. Because conservation priorities can vary widely (i.e. from avoiding imminent extinction to maintaining long-term monitoring efforts) we developed a "conservation priorities portfolio" system using categories of paired risk and threats scores for all RMUs (n = 58). We performed these assessments and rankings globally, by species, by ocean basin, and by recognized geopolitical bodies to identify patterns in risk, threats, and data gaps at different scales. This process resulted in characterization of risk and threats to all marine turtle RMUs, including identification of the world's 11 most endangered marine turtle RMUs based on highest risk and threats scores. This system also highlighted important gaps in available information that is crucial for accurate conservation assessments. Overall, this priority-setting framework can provide guidance for research and conservation priorities at multiple relevant scales, and should serve as a model for conservation status assessments and priority-setting for widespread, long-lived taxa.

Item ID: 21309
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
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© 2011 Wallace et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

ISSN: 1932-6203
Date Deposited: 02 Apr 2012 04:31
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960506 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Fresh, Ground and Surface Water Environments @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 2
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