ISSN 2330-717X

Loggerhead Sea Turtle: New Project To Protect Nesting Events Of This Species In Mediterranean Coasts

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Promoting the success of the episodes of the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) nesting in the peninsular coasts is the main aim of the new project led by the University of Barcelona and co-funded by the Biodiversity Foundation, from the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge.

The new project, titled “Management and assessment of the colonization of the Spanish coast for the nidification of the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) as adaptation to climate change (NIDOS-Caretta)”, counts on the participation of the experts Marta Pascual, Carlos Carreras and Lluís Cardona, from the Faculty of Biology and the Biodiversity Research Institute (IRBio) of the University of Barcelona (UB).Other collaborators in the initiative are the experts from the BETA Technological Centre of the University of Vic – Central University of Catalonia (UVic-UCC) and the Doñana Biological Station (EBD-CSIC).

The loggerhead sea turtle is a marine species present in tropical and warm areas worldwide. This carnivorous chelonian nests in the coasts of Japan, Oman, Australia, the Caribbean and the eastern coast of North America, Cape Verde and eastern Mediterranean (specially in Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Libya, Lebanon and Israel). Moreover, it makes long-distance migrations to feeding areas such as the western Mediterranean.

Loggerhead sea turtle: philopatric behaviour and sporadic nesting

In a situation of climate change, the future of the loggerhead sea turtle can depend on their skills to colonize new areas. This species shows a philopatric behaviour, so females and most males go back to their nesting place and can nest in new areas sporadically. The phenomenon of sporadic nesting, regarded as exceptional, has been growing over the last yeas in the western Mediterranean, so the protection of these areas can be decisive for the survival of this species in the future.

As part of the NIDOS-Caretta project, the experts will conduct a pilot test in Catalonia -potentially applicable in other autonomous communities- to maximize the success of the nesting events of the chelonian. This includes scientific studies to understand why the nesting episodes have increased and to improve management and protection protocols for these nests. “The project considers actions to raise awareness in different involved sectors in the management of beaches, with emphasis on the role of citizenship in the conservation of the species in the country’s beaches”, notes the lecturer Marta Pascual, head of the project NIDOS-Caretta and member of IRBio and the Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Statistics of the UB.

The new project will apply genomic tools to find out the area of origin of the reproducing models and will assess the existence of cases of multiple paternity in order to identify the number of males that took part in the reproduction of each nest. Moreover, researchers expect to study the records of temperature over time to identify the effect of climate change in the increase of nesting episodes.

The new project will apply genomic tools to find out the area of origin of the reproducing models and will assess the existence of cases of multiple paternity in order to identify the number of males that took part in the reproduction of each nest. Moreover, researchers expect to study the records of temperature over time to identify the effect of climate change in the increase of nesting episodes.


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