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Gonzalez Carman V.,Instituto Nacional Of Investigacion Y Desarrollo Pesquero Inidep | Gonzalez Carman V.,CONICET | Botto F.,CONICET | Gaitan E.,Instituto Nacional Of Investigacion Y Desarrollo Pesquero Inidep | And 4 more authors.
Marine Biology

Feeding ecology of juvenile green turtles (Chelonia mydas) was studied from 2008 to 2011 at Samborombón Bay (35°30′-36°30′S, Argentina), combining data on digestive tract examination and stable isotope analysis through a Bayesian mixing model. We found that animal matter, in particular gelatinous plankton, was consumed in large proportions compared to herbivorous food items such as terrestrial plants and macroalgae. This diet is facilitated by the high abundance of gelatinous plankton in the region, thus confirming the adaptive foraging behaviour of the juveniles according to prey abundance in the SW Atlantic. To our knowledge, this is the first study to employ this combination of techniques and to conclusively demonstrate that animal matter, in particular gelatinous plankton, is important in the diet of the neritic green sea turtles. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source

Gonzalez Carman V.,CONICET | Acha E.M.,CONICET | Maxwell S.M.,Stanford University | Albareda D.,Aquamarina | And 2 more authors.
Marine Pollution Bulletin

Ingestion of anthropogenic debris represents an important threat to marine turtle populations. Information has been limited to inventories of debris ingested and its consequences, but why ingestion occurs and the conditions that enable it are less understood. Here we report on the occurrence of plastic ingestion in young green turtles (Chelonia mydas) inhabiting the Río de la Plata (SW Atlantic). This estuarine area is characterized by a frontal system that accumulates anthropogenic debris. We explored exposure of green turtles to plastic and its ingestion via debris distribution, habitat use and digestive tract examination. Results indicated that there is considerable overlap of frontal accumulated plastic and core foraging areas of the animals. Exposure results in ingestion, as shown by the high frequency of plastic found in the digestive tracts. The Río de la Plata estuarine front is an area of conservation concern for young green turtles. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Gonzalez Carman V.,CONICET | Falabella V.,Wildlife Conservation Society | Maxwell S.,Marine Conservation Institute | Maxwell S.,University of California at Santa Cruz | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology

The green turtle (Chelonia mydas) is a subcosmopolitan species found in tropical and temperate latitudes. The best knowledge on its behavior described an abrupt and irreversible ontogenetic shift that takes place early in life in some areas such as the Greater Caribbean and Australia. Young turtles move from oceanic to neritic habitats, from pelagic to benthic feeding and from an omnivorous to an herbivorous diet. However, whether this pattern applies elsewhere in the range of the species is not known. In the temperate waters of the South West (SW) Atlantic, preliminary evidence suggests that these juveniles would not comply with the tenets of an abrupt and irreversible ontogenetic shift as in tropical waters. We satellite tracked 9 neritic juveniles moving along the coast of Argentina, and applied a switching state-space model combined with kernel density estimation to identify preferential putative foraging areas and migratory routes. Results indicate that immature green turtles are not strictly herbivores or neritic in the temperate SW Atlantic. In summer and fall, juveniles foraged most of the time in estuarine areas without submerged macrophytes. In winter and spring, the turtles migrated north to warm coastal areas where macroalgae and seagrass are available. Concomitant to pelagic feeding, some turtles reached deep water areas where macrophytes are unlikely to occur. Adaptation to local conditions explains behavior better for the SW Atlantic than the abrupt and irreversible ontogenic shift described for warmer waters. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.. Source

Fossette S.,University of Swansea | Fossette S.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Witt M.J.,University of Exeter | Nalovic M.A.,Virginia Institute of Marine Science | And 24 more authors.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

Large oceanic migrants play important roles in ecosystems, yet many species are of conservation concern as a result of anthropogenic threats, of which incidental capture by fisheries is frequently identified. The last large populations of the leatherback turtle, Dermochelys coriacea, occur in the Atlantic Ocean, but interactions with industrial fisheries could jeopardize recent positive population trends, making bycatch mitigation a priority. Here, we perform the first pan Atlantic analysis of spatio-temporal distribution of the leatherback turtle and ascertain overlap with longline fishing effort. Data suggest that the Atlantic probably consists of two regional management units: northern and southern (the latter including turtles breeding in South Africa). Although turtles and fisheriesshow highly diverse distributions, we highlight nine areas of high susceptibility to potential bycatch (four in the northern Atlantic and five in the southern/equatorial Atlantic) that are worthy of further targeted investigation and mitigation. These are reinforced by reports of leatherback bycatch at eight of these sites. International collaborative efforts are needed, especially from nations hosting regions where susceptibility to bycatch is likely to be high within their exclusive economic zone (northern Atlantic: Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania, Senegal, Spain, USA and Western Sahara; southern Atlantic: Angola, Brazil, Namibia and UK) and from nations fishing in these high-susceptibility areas, including those located in international waters. © 2014 The Authors. Source

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