Assessment and management of sea turtle populations is often limited by a lack of available data pertaining to at-sea distributions at appropriate spatial and temporal resolutions. Assessing the spatial and temporal distributions of marine turtles in an open system poses both observational and analytical challenges due to the turtles’ highly migratory nature. Surface counts of marine turtles in waters along the southern part of Florida’s east coast were made in and adjacent to the southeast portion of the Florida Current using standard aerial surveys during 2011 and 2012 to assess their seasonal presence. This area is of particular concern for sea turtles as interest increases in offshore energy developments, specifically harnessing the power of the Florida Current. While it is understood that marine turtles use these waters, here we evaluate seasonal variation in sea turtle abundance and density over two years. Density of sea turtles observed within the study area ranged from 0.003 turtles km-2 in the winter of 2011 to 0.064 turtles km-2 in the spring of 2012. This assessment of marine turtles in the waters off southeast Florida quantifies their in-water abundance across seasons in this area to establish baselines and inform future management strategies of these protected species.
Seasonal Variation in Sea Turtle Density and Abundance in the Southeast Florida Current and Surrounding Waters
Title: Seasonal Variation in Sea Turtle Density and Abundance in the Southeast Florida Current and Surrounding Waters
December 30, 2015
Journal: Plos One
Publisher: Plos One
Bovery, C.; Wyneken, J. (2015). Seasonal Variation in Sea Turtle Density and Abundance in the Southeast Florida Current and Surrounding Waters. Plos One, 10(12), 1-14.