Space-use patterns of green turtles in industrial coastal foraging habitat: Challenges and opportunities for informing management with a large satellite tracking dataset

Webster, Emily G., Hamann, Mark, Shimada, Takahiro, Limpus, Colin, and Duce, Stephanie (2022) Space-use patterns of green turtles in industrial coastal foraging habitat: Challenges and opportunities for informing management with a large satellite tracking dataset. Aquatic Conservation: marine and freshwater ecosystems, 32 (6). pp. 1041-1056.

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Increasing overlap between anthropogenic activities and wildlife can lead to problematic human–wildlife interactions. To manage these, an understanding of animal space-use patterns, with sufficient temporal and spatial detail is required. Satellite telemetry can provide such detailed data; however, the cost of tracking units places a significant limitation on sample size.

Satellite tracks for 72 green turtles were consolidated through collaboration with multiple entities over 8 years at seven sites within a large industrial port contributing to an ecological monitoring initiative to minimize impacts of planned developments.

This study aims to determine the minimum number of satellite-tracked green turtles required to represent spatial distribution patterns in the foraging ground and to evaluate factors underpinning differences in distribution and site fidelity metrics to inform appropriate management strategies.

An autocorrelated kernel density estimator was used to construct 95% utilization distributions for individual turtles during each calendar season. Percentage overlap between pairs of seasonal utilization distributions was calculated as a measure of short-term site fidelity. Mechanistic range shift analysis was applied to detect significant deviations from range residency behaviour.

Green turtles exhibited spatially confined ranges and remained faithful to their foraging area for periods of up to 260 days. Range size was significantly different between microhabitats and study years. Only 16 individuals (22% of tracked turtles) performed significant range shifts, indicating that occupied areas represent important habitats, and most turtles are unlikely to adjust their space-use in response to anthropogenic or natural disturbances.

Although this dataset represents an atypically large sample of satellite tracked individuals, representative data were obtained at only two key sites.

This study highlights the importance of evaluating clear objectives when sampling animals for satellite telemetry studies to obtain representation of sites, periods of interest, or age and sex cohorts.

Item ID: 74227
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1099-0755
Keywords: coastal management, continuous time movement models, habitat use, marine turtle, range, satellite telemetry, site fidelity, utilization distribution
Copyright Information: © 2022 The Authors. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Date Deposited: 18 May 2022 07:39
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 50%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410402 Environmental assessment and monitoring @ 50%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180502 Assessment and management of pelagic marine ecosystems @ 50%
27 TRANSPORT > 2704 Water transport > 270409 Port infrastructure and management @ 50%
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