Case report: tracking data from foraging hawksbill turtles in the northern Red Sea

Tanabe, Lyndsey K., Cochran, Jesse E.M., Williams, Colin T., Garzon, Francesco, Langner, Ute, Hardenstine, Royale S., Hawkes, Lucy A., Brainard, Russell E., Eweida, Ameer A., Marshall, Paul A., and Berumen, Michael L. (2023) Case report: tracking data from foraging hawksbill turtles in the northern Red Sea. Animal Biotelemetry, 11. 1.

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Abstract

Background: Hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) are Critically Endangered throughout their global range, and concerningly little is known about this species in the Red Sea. With large-scale coastal development projects underway in the northern Red Sea, it is critical to understand the movement and habitat use patterns of hawksbill turtles in this environmentally unique region, so that effective conservation strategies can be implemented. We satellite tagged three hawksbill turtles, one 63 cm curved carapace length adult male captured near Wahlei Island, one 55 cm turtle captured in the Gulf of Aqaba, and one 56 cm turtle suffering from a floating syndrome which was captured at Waqqadi Island, rehabilitated, and released at Waqqadi Island. Turtles were tracked for 156, 199, and 372 days between October 2020 and November 2021.

Results: We calculated the home ranges and core use areas of hawksbill turtles using kernel-density estimations and found that each turtle showed high fidelity to their foraging sites. Home ranges calculated with GPS-derived locations ranged between 13.6 and 2.86 km2, whereas home ranges calculated with Argos-derived locations ranged from 38.98 to 286.45 km2. GPS-derived locations also revealed a higher proportion of time spent in coral and rock habitats compared to Argos, based on location overlap with the Allen Coral Reef Atlas. We also found that turtles were making shallow dives, usually remaining between 0 and 5 m.

Conclusions: While the number of tracked turtles in this study was small, it represents an important contribution to the current understanding of spatial ecology among foraging hawksbill turtles globally, and provides the first-ever reported hawksbill turtle tracking data from the Red Sea. Our results suggest that protecting coral reef habitats and implementing boating speed limits near reefs could be effective conservation measures for foraging hawksbill turtles in the face of rapid coastal development.

Item ID: 79344
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2050-3385
Keywords: Telemetry, Conservation, Habitat use, Home range, Eretmochelys imbricata
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2023. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2023 23:56
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 30%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity @ 70%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1802 Coastal and estuarine systems and management > 180204 Control of pests, diseases and exotic species in coastal and estuarine environments @ 100%
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