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Fuentes M.M.P.B.,James Cook University | Pike D.A.,James Cook University | Dimatteo A.,Naval Facilities Engineering Command Atlantic | Wallace B.P.,Oceanic Society | Wallace B.P.,Duke University
Global Change Biology | Year: 2013

Enhancing species resilience to changing environmental conditions is often suggested as a climate change adaptation strategy. To effectively achieve this, it is necessary first to understand the factors that determine species resilience, and their relative importance in shaping the ability of species to adjust to the complexities of environmental change. This is an extremely challenging task because it requires comprehensive information on species traits. We explored the resilience of 58 marine turtle regional management units (RMUs) to climate change, encompassing all seven species of marine turtles worldwide. We used expert opinion from the IUCN-SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group (n = 33 respondents) to develop a Resilience Index, which considered qualitative characteristics of each RMU (relative population size, rookery vulnerability, and genetic diversity) and non climate-related threats (fisheries, take, coastal development, and pollution/pathogens). Our expert panel perceived rookery vulnerability (the likelihood of functional rookeries becoming extirpated) and non climate-related threats as having the greatest influence on resilience of RMUs to climate change. We identified the world's 13 least resilient marine turtle RMUs to climate change, which are distributed within all three major ocean basins and include six of the world's seven species of marine turtle. Our study provides the first look at inter- and intra-species variation in resilience to climate change and highlights the need to devise metrics that measure resilience directly. We suggest that this approach can be widely used to help prioritize future actions that increase species resilience to climate change. © 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Selig E.R.,Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Science and Oceans | Turner W.R.,Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Science and Oceans | Troeng S.,Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Science and Oceans | Troeng S.,Lund University | And 9 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

In recent decades, many marine populations have experienced major declines in abundance, but we still know little about where management interventions may help protect the highest levels of marine biodiversity. We used modeled spatial distribution data for nearly 12,500 species to quantify global patterns of species richness and two measures of endemism. By combining these data with spatial information on cumulative human impacts, we identified priority areas where marine biodiversity is most and least impacted by human activities, both within Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) and Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ). Our analyses highlighted places that are both accepted priorities for marine conservation like the Coral Triangle, as well as less well-known locations in the southwest Indian Ocean, western Pacific Ocean, Arctic and Antarctic Oceans, and within semi-enclosed seas like the Mediterranean and Baltic Seas. Within highly impacted priority areas, climate and fishing were the biggest stressors. Although new priorities may arise as we continue to improve marine species range datasets, results from this work are an essential first step in guiding limited resources to regions where investment could best sustain marine biodiversity. © 2014 Selig et al.

Mazaris A.D.,Aristotle University of Thessaloniki | Almpanidou V.,Aristotle University of Thessaloniki | Wallace B.P.,Oceanic Society | Wallace B.P.,Duke University | And 2 more authors.
Biological Conservation | Year: 2014

Although the number and extent of protected areas (PAs) are continuously increasing, their coverage of global biodiversity, as well as criteria and targets that underline their selection, warrants scrutiny. As a case study, we use a global dataset of sea turtle nesting sites (. n=. 2991) to determine the extent to which the existing global PA network encompasses nesting habitats (beaches) that are vital for the persistence of the seven sea turtle species. The majority of nesting sites (87%) are in the tropics, and are mainly hosted by developing countries. Developing countries contain 82% nesting sites, which provide lower protection coverage compared to developed countries. PAs encompass 25% of all nesting sites, of which 78% are in marine PAs. At present, most nesting sites in PAs with IUCN ratification receive high protection. We identified the countries that provide the highest and lowest nesting site protection coverage, and detected gaps in species-level protection effort within countries. No clear trend in protection coverage was found in relation to gross domestic product, the Global Peace Index or sea turtle regional management units; however, countries in crisis (civil unrest, war or natural catastrophes) provided slightly higher protection coverage of all countries. We conclude that global sea turtle resilience against threats spanning temperate to tropical regions require representative PA coverage at the species level within countries. This work is anticipated to function as a first step towards identifying specific countries or regions that should receive higher conservation interest by national and international bodies. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Castelblanco-Martinez D.N.,Oceanic Society | Castelblanco-Martinez D.N.,Colegio de Mexico | Morales-Vela B.,Colegio de Mexico | Slone D.H.,U.S. Geological Survey | And 3 more authors.
Mammalian Biology | Year: 2015

Diving or respiratory behavior in aquatic mammals can be used as an indicator of physiological activity and consequently, to infer behavioral patterns. Five Antillean manatees, Trichechus manatus manatus, were captured in Chetumal Bay and tagged with GPS tracking devices. The radios were equipped with a micropower saltwater sensor (SWS), which records the times when the tag assembly was submerged. The information was analyzed to establish individual fine-scale behaviors. For each fix, we established the following variables: distance (D), sampling interval (T), movement rate (D/. T), number of dives (N), and total diving duration (TDD). We used logic criteria and simple scatterplots to distinguish between behavioral categories: 'Travelling' (D/. T≥. 3. km/h), 'Surface' (↓TDD, ↓. N), 'Bottom feeding' (↑TDD, ↑. N) and 'Bottom resting' (↑TDD, ↓. N). Habitat categories were qualitatively assigned: Lagoon, Channels, Caye shore, City shore, Channel edge, and Open areas. The instrumented individuals displayed a daily rhythm of bottom activities, with surfacing activities more frequent during the night and early in the morning. More investigation into those cycles and other individual fine-scale behaviors related to their proximity to concentrations of human activity would be informative. © 2014 Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde.

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