Patterns of nesting behaviour and nesting success for green turtles at Raine Island, Australia

Hamann, Mark, Shimada, Takahiro, Duce, Stephanie, Foster, Alyssa, To, Althea Tsz Ying, and Limpus, Colin (2022) Patterns of nesting behaviour and nesting success for green turtles at Raine Island, Australia. Endangered Species Research, 47. pp. 217-229.

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Abstract

To understand how turtles use the nesting habitat at Raine Island across a nesting season, and how the turtles respond to the restoration of the island’s dune systems, we identified 534 nesting events for 39 green turtles Chelonia mydas across 2 breeding seasons using data derived from satellite tags. Tracked turtles laid between 4 and 10 clutches of eggs. Patterns of nesting success varied between individuals, within and between seasons. Nesting success was higher in 2018-19 (57%) than 2017-18 (45%), and in both years, nesting success was lowest between October and early January (<50%). In 2017-18, increased rainfall in January corresponded with increased nesting success (>50%). The density of female turtles ashore was lower in 2018-19, and likely explains higher nesting success in 2018-19 because competition for nest space was lower. In 2017-18, females had more attempts per clutch, and the attempts were around 90 min longer. Consequently, energy required to lay a clutch of eggs in 2017-18 was significantly higher than in 2018-19, highlighting potential costs of lower nesting success rates on reproductive output. The area of beach re-profiled as an intervention in 2014 and 2017 was a nesting hotspot in 2017-18. However, in 2018-19, the area was not used to the same extent, and the nesting hotspot occurred on the north-eastern unaltered beach. Collectively, the tracking of turtles across the whole nesting season enabled us to assess overall beach use and nesting site fidelity of green turtles at Raine Island. Results will aid future planning and management of beach restoration activities at turtle nesting sites.

Item ID: 74291
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1613-4796
Keywords: Chelonia mydas, Reproduction, Marine turtle, Energetic costs, Fidelity, Fastloc GPS, Reproductive ecology, Restoration
Copyright Information: © The authors 2022. Open Access under Creative Commons by Attribution Licence. Use, distribution and reproduction are un restricted. Authors and original publication must be credited.
Date Deposited: 25 May 2022 07:38
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 50%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity @ 50%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1802 Coastal and estuarine systems and management > 180203 Coastal or estuarine biodiversity @ 100%
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