Encouraging outlook for recovery of a once severely exploited marine megaherbivore

Chaloupka, Milani, Bjorndal, Karen A., Balazs, George H., Bolten, Alan B., Ehrhart, Llewellyn M., Limpus, Colin J., Suganuma, Hiroyuki, Troeeng, Sebastian and Yamaguchi, Manami (2008) Encouraging outlook for recovery of a once severely exploited marine megaherbivore. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 17 2: 297-304. doi:10.1111/j.1466-8238.2007.00367.x

Author Chaloupka, Milani
Bjorndal, Karen A.
Balazs, George H.
Bolten, Alan B.
Ehrhart, Llewellyn M.
Limpus, Colin J.
Suganuma, Hiroyuki
Troeeng, Sebastian
Yamaguchi, Manami
Title Encouraging outlook for recovery of a once severely exploited marine megaherbivore
Journal name Global Ecology and Biogeography   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1466-822X
Publication date 2008-03-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1466-8238.2007.00367.x
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 17
Issue 2
Start page 297
End page 304
Total pages 8
Place of publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Aim: To critically review the status of the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas ) using the best available scientific studies as there is a prevailing view that this species is globally endangered and its marine ecosystem functions compromised. Location Ogasawara (Japan), Hawaii (USA), Great Barrier Reef (Australia), Florida (USA), Tortuguero (Costa Rica).

Methods: We compiled seasonal nesting activity data from all reliable continuous long-term studies (> 25 years), which comprised data series for six of the world’s major green turtle rookeries. We estimated the underlying time-specific trend in these six rookery-specific nester or nest abundance series using a generalized smoothing spline regression approach.

Results: Estimated rates of nesting population increase ranged from c. 4–14% per annum over the past two to three decades. These rates varied considerably among the rookeries, reflecting the level of historical exploitation. Similar increases in nesting population were also evident for many other green turtle stocks that have been monitored for shorter durations than the long-term studies presented here.

Main conclusions: We show that six of the major green turtle nesting populations in the world have been increasing over the past two to three decades following protection from human hazards such as exploitation of eggs and turtles. This population recovery or rebound capacity is encouraging and suggests that the green turtle is not on the brink of global extinction even though some stocks have been seriously depleted and are still below historical abundance levels. This demonstrates that relatively simple conservation strategies can have a profound effect on the recovery of once-depleted green turtle stocks and presumably the restoration of their ecological function as major marine consumers.
Keyword Chelonia mydas
Green sea turtle
Stock recovery
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article first published online: 11 DEC 2007

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 96 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 107 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 03 Sep 2009, 20:30:29 EST by Mr Andrew Martlew on behalf of School of Biological Sciences