Evidence for transoceanic migrations by loggerhead sea turtles in the southern Pacific Ocean

Boyle, M.C., FitzSimmons, N.N., Limpus, C.J., Kelez, S., Velez-Zuazo, X., and Waycott, M. (2009) Evidence for transoceanic migrations by loggerhead sea turtles in the southern Pacific Ocean. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B, Biological Sciences, 276 (1664). pp. 1993-1999.

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Post-hatchling loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) in the northern Pacific and northern Atlantic Oceans undertake transoceanic developmental migrations. Similar migratory behaviour is hypothesized in the South Pacific Ocean as post-hatchling loggerhead turtles are observed in Peruvian fisheries, yet no loggerhead rookeries occur along the coast of South America. This hypothesis was supported by analyses of the size-class distribution of 123 post-hatchling turtles in the South Pacific and genetic analysis of mtDNA haplotypes of 103 nesting females in the southwest Pacific, 19 post-hatchlings stranded on the southeastern Australian beaches and 22 post-hatchlings caught by Peruvian longline fisheries. Only two haplotypes (CCP1 93% and CCP5 7%) were observed across all samples, and there were no significant differences in haplotype frequencies between the southwest Pacific rookeries and the post-hatchlings. By contrast, the predominant CCP1 haplotype is rarely observed in North Pacific rookeries and haplotype frequencies were strongly differentiated between the two regions (Fst=0.82; p=<0.00001). These results suggest that post-hatchling loggerhead turtles emerging from the southwest Pacific rookeries are undertaking transoceanic migrations to the southeastern Pacific Ocean, thus emphasizing the need for a broader focus on juvenile mortality throughout the South Pacific to develop effective conservation strategies.

Item ID: 10567
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1471-2954
Keywords: Caretta caretta; marine turtles; conservation genetics; mtDNA; molecular markers; post-hatchling; marine science; population genetics; global change
Date Deposited: 21 May 2010 04:19
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management @ 30%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0604 Genetics > 060411 Population, Ecological and Evolutionary Genetics @ 70%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 70%
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