Genetic structure, origin, and connectivity between nesting and foraging areas of hawksbill turtles of the Yucatan Peninsula: A study for conservation and management

Periodo de realización: 0001/01/01 al 2019/01/01

Tipo: Artículo científico

Lugar(es) de estudio: Péninsule du Yucatán, Mexique
Resumen: "1. Anthropogenic activities have led marine turtle populations to a large decline. The complex life cycle (e.g., female philopatry, hatchling migration, adult movements between breeding and foraging areas) make it difficult to understand some biological aspects or human impacts on their populations. In this sense, the genetic tools play a major role to understanding population dynamic and improve conservation and management strategies. 2. Using the mtDNA control region, this study examines the composition, population structure, and connectivity between rookeries and foraging aggregations, in addition to their relationship with Atlantic rookeries and foraging areas of the hawksbill turtle in the Yucatan Peninsula. 3. Haplotype composition of rookeries showed EiA22, EiA39 and EiA41 as endemic haplotypes and revealed a segregation between Gulf of Mexico, and Yucatan and Quintana Roo rookeries, defining two Management Units. Foraging aggregations present 15 haplotypes, some common for Atlantic and others for Mexican rookeries. Considering the Gulf of Mexico vs the Mexican Caribbean, significant population genetic structure was revealed, inferring a differential recruitment of hawksbill turtles. 4. Rookery-centric mixed-stock analysis (MSA) reveals a high contribution of Mexican turtles to local foraging aggregations, principally in the Gulf of Mexico. Foraging-ground-centric MSA showed that the Gulf of Mexico foraging aggregation is predominantly composed of individuals from local rookeries, while Mexican Caribbean foraging groups have a mixed composition with individuals from Barbados, Brazil, and Puerto Rico rookeries. The connectivity between rookeries and foraging aggregations suggest that the ocean currents and swimming behaviour influence the distribution of hawksbill turtles. 5. Our results highlighted the importance in identifying Management Units in nesting and foraging areas to develop monitoring and management programs in an appropriate geographic scale. In addition, understanding turtle habitats connectivity will allow for prioritized conservation actions considering particular threats, emphasizing both national and international collaborations for conservation of this endangered species."

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