Regional management units for marine turtles: a novel framework for prioritizing conservation and research across multiple scales

Wallace, Bryan P., DiMatteo, Andrew D., Hurley, Brendan J., Finkbeiner, Elena M., Bolten, Alan B., Chaloupka, Milani Y., Hutchinson, Brian J., Abreu-Grobois, F. Alberto, Amorocho, Diego, Bjorndal, Karen A., Bourjea, Jerome, Bowen, Brian W., Briseño Dueñas, Raquel, Casale, Paolo, Choudhury, B.C., Costa, Alice, Dutton, Peter H., Fallabrino, Alejandro, Girard, Alexandre, Girondot, Marc, Godfrey, Matthew H., Hamann, Mark, López-Mendilharsu, Milagros, Marcovaldi, Maria Angela, Mortimer, Jeanne A., Musick, John A., Nel, Ronel, Pilcher, Nicolas J., Seminoff, Jeffrey A., Tröeng, Sebastian, Witherington, Blair, and Mast, Roderic B. (2010) Regional management units for marine turtles: a novel framework for prioritizing conservation and research across multiple scales. PLoS ONE, 5 (12). e15465. pp. 1-11.

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Resolving threats to widely distributed marine megafauna requires the geographic distributions of both the threats as well as of the population unit(s) of interest. Because individual threats can operate on varying spatial scales, their impacts can affect different segments of the same population, and population status can vary within a species. Thus, population segments must be defined using the appropriate tools or indicators, such life history traits, genetics, and behavior. To address these issues for marine turtles, we collated all available studies on marine turtle biogeography, including nesting sites and abundance, population genetics, mark-recapture information, and satellite telemetry, as well as other relevant natural history studies. We then georeferenced this information to generate polygons that contained nesting sites, genetic stocks, and at-sea distributions of population segments of all marine turtle species. We also compiled available information on population sizes and trends at each spatial/biological scale. We then spatially integrated this information from fine- to coarse-spatial scales to develop nested envelope models, or Regional Management Units (RMUs), for all marine turtle species. This approach provides a framework for evaluating threats, identifying data gaps, and assessing high diversity areas for multiple species and genetic stocks. Among the many advantages of this approach is the ability to connect impacts of spatially explicit threats to biologically relevant population units and associated demographic characteristics. In addition, the RMU framework – including maps and supporting metadata – will be an iterative, user-driven tool, publicly available for comments, edits, improvements, and numerous conservation and research applications.

Item ID: 12179
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1932-6203
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This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Public Domain declaration which stipulates that, once placed in the public domain, this work may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose.

Funders: National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Offield Family Foundation
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2014 02:41
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%
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