Estimating long-term trends in abundance and survival for nesting flatback turtles in Kakadu National Park, Australia

Groom, Rachel A., Griffiths, Anthony D. and Chaloupka, Milani (2017) Estimating long-term trends in abundance and survival for nesting flatback turtles in Kakadu National Park, Australia. Endangered Species Research, 32 1: 203-211. doi:10.3354/esr00795


Author Groom, Rachel A.
Griffiths, Anthony D.
Chaloupka, Milani
Title Estimating long-term trends in abundance and survival for nesting flatback turtles in Kakadu National Park, Australia
Journal name Endangered Species Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1863-5407
1613-4796
Publication date 2017-02-23
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.3354/esr00795
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 32
Issue 1
Start page 203
End page 211
Total pages 9
Place of publication Oldendorf, Germany
Publisher Inter-Research
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Flatback turtles Natator depressus are endemic to Australia and Papua New Guinea’s tropical oceans and, although the species has an extensive distribution around northern Australia, there are few published long-term abundance trends of nesting populations. We conducted a longterm capture-mark-recapture program on nesting flatback turtles on Field Island in Kakadu
National Park, a World Heritage Area that is jointly managed by Aboriginal landowners and the Australian Government, from 2002 to 2013 for between 12 and 20 monitoring days per year. We used a Cormack-Jolly-Seber (CJS) model that accounted for transience and recapture heterogeneity to estimate apparent survival and recapture probability, and estimated abundance using a Horvitz-Thompson type estimator. A total of 257 flatback turtles attempted nesting during that period, averaging 3.68 ± 0.28 (mean ± SE) nesting attempts per night of monitoring. Annual apparent survival of nesting flatback turtles was 0.97 (95% CI = 0.94 to 0.98) and increased relative to body size. Recapture probability averaged 0.38 (95% CI = 0.34 to 0.42) and was influenced by inter-annual climatic variability. The size of the Field Island nesting flatback turtle population ranged from 97 (95% CI = 87 to 106) to 183 (95% CI = 165 to 200) and there was a non-significant trend over 12 yr of monitoring. Understanding long-term population trends of nesting marine turtles is fundamental for management and recovery of these at-risk species
Keyword Endemic
Capture-mark-recapture
World Heritage Area
Recapture probability
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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