Seasonal factors affecting sea turtle nesting in the Southeastern Caribbean Sea (Gulf of Paria, Venezuela)

Balladares, Clemente, Rueda-Roa, Digna, Rodríguez, Diego, Muller-Karger, Frank, and Barrios-Garrido, Hector (2022) Seasonal factors affecting sea turtle nesting in the Southeastern Caribbean Sea (Gulf of Paria, Venezuela). Ocean and Coastal Research, 70. e22032.

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Abstract

The nesting characteristics (number of nests and eggs, time of year, nesting initiation, and nesting length) of leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) and hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) sea turtles of the southern Caribbean Sea (specifically in the Gulf of Paria in Venezuela), were examined in association with weekly precipitation averages and number of rainy days per week during the period between 2009 and 2018. We hypothesized about the influence of rainfall intensity and patterns as the main abiotic factor for sea turtle nesting. On average, leatherbacks preferred nesting during the drier season of each year (March, April, and May), while hawksbills nested during the rainy season (June to September). For both species, we found few significant correlations between the number of nests or clutch size (number of eggs per nest) and weekly averages of seasonal precipitation rates in the region. Average hawksbill clutch sizes were not correlated with average precipitation rates but were positively correlated with the number of rainy days per week (r=0.66, P≤0.05). Average hawksbill clutch sizes decreased each year on average (-3.3 eggs/year, r=-0.88, P≤0.001), which coincided with a negative long-term trend in the number of rainy days (-0.11 rainy days/week, r=-0.69, P≤0.05). During the study period, nesting activities for both leatherback and hawksbills started progressively later (0.9 and 0.6 weeks/year, respectively p≤0.05) and were shorter (-0.9 and -0.8 weeks /year, P≤0.1 and P≤0.05, respectively).

Item ID: 76267
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2675-2824
Keywords: Rainfall; Sea turtles; Remote sensing; Seasonal nesting; Fecundity
Copyright Information: © 2022 The authors. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license
Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2022 01:58
FoR Codes: 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3708 Oceanography > 370801 Biological oceanography @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180504 Marine biodiversity @ 50%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1802 Coastal and estuarine systems and management > 180203 Coastal or estuarine biodiversity @ 50%
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