Sea Turtle Rescue Center

Molfetta, Italy

Sea Turtle Rescue Center

Molfetta, Italy
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Casale P.,University of Pisa | Freggi D.,Sea Turtle Rescue Center | Rigoli A.,University of Pisa | Ciccocioppo A.,University of Pisa | Luschi P.,University of Pisa
Amphibia Reptilia | Year: 2017

We investigate for the first time allometric vs. non-allometric shape variation in sea turtles through a geometric morphometrics approach. Five body parts (carapace, plastron, top and lateral sides of the head, dorsal side of front flippers) were considered in a sample of 58 loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) collected in the waters around Lampedusa island, Italy, the central Mediterranean. The allometric component was moderate but significant, except for the plastron, and may represent an ontogenetic optimization in the case of the head and flippers. The predominant non-allometric component encourages further investigation with sex and origin as potential explanatory variables. We also reported the variation of marginal and prefrontal scutes of 1497 turtles, showing that: variation of marginals is mostly limited to the two anteriormost scutes, symmetry is favored, asymmetry is biased to one pattern, and the variation of marginal and prefrontal scutes are linked. Comparisons with other datasets from the Mediterranean show a high variability, more likely caused by epigenetic factors. Finally, conversion equations between the most commonly used biometrics (curved and straight carapace length, carapace width, and weight) are often needed in sea turtle research but are lacking for the Mediterranean and are here estimated from a sample of 2624 turtles. © 2017 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands.


Clusa M.,University of Barcelona | Carreras C.,University of Barcelona | Carreras C.,University of Exeter | Pascual M.,University of Barcelona | And 11 more authors.
Marine Biology | Year: 2016

Bycatch is one of the main threats affecting marine megafauna worldwide, not only because of its prevalence, but also because the impact of high levels of bycatch in small oceanic regions may spread over whole oceans due to the complex dispersal patterns of bycaught species. Here, we use intrinsic and genetic markers to understand the impact of bycatch on the Atlantic and Mediterranean populations of the loggerhead turtle sharing the same foraging grounds in the western Mediterranean Sea. Turtles of Atlantic origin settle on the continental shelf later and at a larger size than turtles of Mediterranean origin and hence have been suggested to be more vulnerable to pelagic fishing gears, whereas those of Mediterranean origin would be more vulnerable to neritic ones. To assess whether this hypothesis holds true, we compared the genetic make-up of turtle bycatch from drifting longlines and bottom trawl/trammel nets in three different regions (eastern mainland Spain, southern Balearic Islands and southern Italy). A total of 176 incidentally caught turtles were considered, and size and habitat use, as revealed by stable isotopes, were incorporated to the analysis. No genetic, size or isotopic differences were found between turtles caught with drifting longlines and bottom trawl/trammel nets within any of the three regions. However, genetic, size and isotopic differences were detected among regions, regardless of the fishing gear. Thus, the population make-up of loggerhead bycatch depends on the area where the fishing operations are conducted, but not on the fishing gear used. Accordingly, the actual impact of loggerhead bycatch in the Mediterranean Sea will depend not only on the total number of turtles taken, but also on the geographic distribution of the fishing effort. © 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Casale P.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Simone G.,Associazione Centro Cultura del Mare Manfredonia | Conoscitore C.,Associazione Centro Cultura del Mare Manfredonia | Conoscitore M.,Associazione Centro Cultura del Mare Manfredonia | Salvemini P.,Sea Turtle Rescue Center
Acta Herpetologica | Year: 2012

The Adriatic Sea is an important foraging area for the loggerhead sea turtle, Caretta caretta, but neritic habitats for this species along the Italian coast were identified in the northern shallow area only. The Gulf of Manfredonia is a relatively wide shallow area in the south-west Adriatic and its features and preliminary information make it a potential foraging ground for turtles. In order to assess sea turtle occurrence in the area, we monitored seven bottom trawlers based in the port of Manfredonia during the period Oct 2010 - Jul 2011 through a voluntary logbook programme, resulting in a total of 62 turtle captures during 617 fishing days. Since a turtle capture represents a rare event during such sampling, data were analysed by a zero-inflated Poisson (ZIP) model. Results indicate that: (i) the Gulf is a neritic foraging ground for loggerhead turtles which occur there with a relatively high density comparable to other Mediterranean foraging grounds, (ii) it is frequented by a wide range of size classes, including small juveniles as well as adults, (iii) the highest occurrence is during the period Jun-Dec, (iv) over 1700 turtle captures occur in the Gulf annually. Preliminary findings about recaptured individuals suggest that part of the turtles are resident in the area. The peculiar features of the Gulf of Manfredonia and the collaboration of the fishing fleet, make it a valuable index site for studying current trends of sea turtle populations at sea as well as other aspects of sea turtle biology and conservation. © Firenze University Press.


Casale P.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Broderick A.C.,University of Exeter | Freggi D.,Sea Turtle Rescue Center | Mencacci R.,University of Pisa | And 3 more authors.
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems | Year: 2012

Identifying highly frequented areas is a priority for sea turtle conservation. Although juveniles represent the bulk of the population, a minority of studies have investigated their movement patterns. Six large juvenile loggerhead turtles that were found and released in an important foraging ground in the Mediterranean, the Tunisian continental shelf were tracked. Tracking data were obtained via satellite for periods ranging from 120 to 225days and allowed the identification of high use areas. All turtles generally performed apparently non-directed, wandering movements in waters with a wide range of seafloor depths. They showed clear residential behaviour to the region with no evident seasonal pattern. Core areas of residence were in the neritic zone or on the edge of the continental shelf, largely overlapping among individuals, and were much smaller than residential oceanic areas reported elsewhere. When integrated into current knowledge, these results suggest an ecological-behavioural model of a gradual shift from a pelagic-vagile to a benthic-sedentary life style with progressive reduction of home ranges. They also highlight an area of the continental shelf and offshore waters as potential core foraging ground for large juvenile loggerhead turtles in the Mediterranean informing future spatial management for loggerhead turtles. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Lai O.R.,University of Bari | Di Bello A.,University of Bari | Soloperto S.,University of Bari | Freggi D.,Sea Turtle Rescue Center | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Wildlife Diseases | Year: 2015

Data on reptile analgesia are scarce for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and opioids and almost completely lacking in sea turtles, even though emergencies requiring correct pain management are very frequent in their rehabilitative medicine; therefore, dosage regimens extrapolated from other species involve the risk of clinical failure and damage to the animals. We describe the pharmacokinetic behavior of meloxicam in the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta). We chose meloxicam because of its selective anticyclooxygenase- 2 activity and lesser adverse side effects. No data are available on the capacity of turtles to tolerate NSAIDs, so we chose a dose of 0.1 mg/kg of meloxicam. Plasma concentrations of meloxicam were unexpectedly low both for intravenous (IV; maximum concentration [Cmax]=0.04±0.02 µg/mL) and intramuscular (IM; Cmax =0.07±0.09 µg/mL) administration. A double-peak phenomenon occurred after both IV (time for second peak concentration Tmax2 = 10.33±10.89 h) and IM (Tmax2=1.17±0.75 h). The second peak after IM injection was premature, so some difficulty and delay in absorption appears to be an appropriate explanation. Furthermore, the area under the curve, and therefore systemic bioavailability (F531.82±28.24%), after both IV (0.30±0.29) and IM (0.10±0.03) injection appeared particularly limited. Terminal elimination slope and mean residence time indicated fast elimination after IM dosing; as a consequence, plasma concentrations dropped below analytic limits in 8 h. Considering that IM is the favored route of administration of drugs in rescue centers, it is unlikely that meloxicam at 0.1 mg/kg is an appropriate choice, particularly in long-term pain management protocols. © Wildlife Disease Association 2015.


Casale P.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Freggi D.,Sea Turtle Rescue Center | Cina A.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Rocco M.,WWF Italy
Marine Biology | Year: 2013

Ten adult male loggerhead sea turtles, captured by trawlers or dip nets, were satellite-tracked from a neritic foraging ground in the Mediterranean in order to investigate adult spatio-temporal distribution and breeding migration. Five individuals migrated to potential breeding sites in Libya and one to Greece. The results complement previous studies and show that: (1) the Tunisian shelf may be more important for turtles from Libyan rookeries than previously thought; (2) male tracks corroborate a conservation hotspot previously identified for juveniles; (3) the north African coast represents a preferred migratory corridor, unless open sea routes are more direct; (4) adult males may exhibit high fidelity to relatively small areas, without evident seasonal differences; (5) adults home ranges were smaller and more neritic than juveniles frequenting the same area; (6) males may frequent multiple courtship areas; (7) the average remigration interval of males frequenting this region is longer than 1 year. © 2012 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Casale P.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Freggi D.,Sea Turtle Rescue Center | Paduano V.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Oliverio M.,University of Rome La Sapienza
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2016

In a sample of 567 loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) from the central Mediterranean, debris occurrence varied according to methods and turtle source, and was up to 80% in pelagic turtles. Frequencies of plastic types, size and color are also reported. These results and a critical review of 49 studies worldwide indicate that: (i) the detected occurrence of plastic (% turtles) is affected by several factors (e.g., necropsy/feces, ecological zone, type and date of finding, captivity period for feces collection), (ii) mixed dataset and opportunistic approaches provide results which are biased, not comparable, and ultimately of questionable value, (iii) only turtles assumed to have had a normal feeding behaviour at the time of capture or death should be considered, (iv) turtle foraging ecology and possible selectivity may undermine the use of turtles as indicator species for monitoring marine litter, as recently proposed for the Mediterranean. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd


PubMed | University of Rome La Sapienza and Sea Turtle Rescue Center
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Marine pollution bulletin | Year: 2016

In a sample of 567 loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) from the central Mediterranean, debris occurrence varied according to methods and turtle source, and was up to 80% in pelagic turtles. Frequencies of plastic types, size and color are also reported. These results and a critical review of 49 studies worldwide indicate that: (i) the detected occurrence of plastic (% turtles) is affected by several factors (e.g., necropsy/feces, ecological zone, type and date of finding, captivity period for feces collection), (ii) mixed dataset and opportunistic approaches provide results which are biased , not comparable, and ultimately of questionable value, (iii) only turtles assumed to have had a normal feeding behaviour at the time of capture or death should be considered, (iv) turtle foraging ecology and possible selectivity may undermine the use of turtles as indicator species for monitoring marine litter, as recently proposed for the Mediterranean.

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