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Cayenne, French Guiana

Baudouin M.,French National Center for Scientific Research | de Thoisy B.,Association Kwata | Chambault P.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Berzins R.,Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage Cellule technique | And 5 more authors.
Biological Conservation | Year: 2015

The green turtle (. Chelonia mydas) is classified as an endangered species on the IUCN Red List since 1986. This species is especially threatened in South America due to bycatch by fisheries along the northeastern coasts. It is particularly crucial to identify specific marine areas for conservation measures to safeguard green turtle rookeries in Suriname and French Guiana. Our study provides valuable information to attain this goal, describing the satellite tracking of post-nesting migration routes used by 16 green turtles fitted with Argos/GPS Fastloc satellite tags at the end of the nesting season. The data we obtained show a single migratory corridor: all the turtles followed a similar eastward route along the Guianan and the Brazilian coast. The GPS signal was lost for two individuals a few weeks after tracking commenced, suggesting that they were caught by fishermen. Thirteen turtles reached the coast of the state of Ceará (Brazil), where they spent at least one month. One turtle continued 700. km further to the coastal regions of Natal and Recife (Brazil), which are known feeding areas of the green turtle populations nesting on Ascension Island. The migratory corridor is essentially narrow, with a width of 22. km for most of the distance covered. It constitutes a major dynamic link between the nesting and feeding areas and crosses three Regional Management Units of the Atlantic basin. Since green turtles face a high risk of being caught in fishing nets, measures of protection should be implemented along this corridor. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

van Andel T.,Wageningen University | Ruysschaert S.,WWF Guianas | Boven K.,Ministry of Foreign Affairs | Daly L.,University of Oxford
Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine | Year: 2015

Background: Magical charm plants to ensure good luck in hunting, fishing, agriculture, love and warfare are known among many Amerindians groups in the Guianas. Documented by anthropologists as social and political markers and exchangeable commodities, these charms have received little attention by ethnobotanists, as they are surrounded by secrecy and are difficult to identify. We compared the use of charm species among indigenous groups in the Guianas to see whether similarity in charm species was related to geographical or cultural proximity. We hypothesized that cultivated plants were more widely shared than wild ones and that charms with underground bulbs were more widely used than those without such organs, as vegetatively propagated plants would facilitate transfer of charm knowledge. Methods: We compiled a list of charm plants from recent fieldwork and supplemented these with information from herbarium collections, historic and recent literature among 11 ethnic groups in the Guianas. To assess similarity in plant use among these groups, we performed a Detrended Component Analysis (DCA) on species level. To see whether cultivated plants or vegetatively propagated species were more widely shared among ethnic groups than wild species or plants without rhizomes, tubers or stem-rooting capacity, we used an independent sample t-test. Results: We recorded 366 charms, representing 145 species. The majority were hunting charms, wild plants, propagated via underground bulbs and grown in villages. Our data suggest that similarity in charm species is associated with geographical proximity and not cultural relatedness. The most widely shared species, used by all Amerindian groups, is Caladium bicolor. The tubers of this plant facilitate easy transport and its natural variability allows for associations with a diversity of game animals. Human selection on shape, size and color of plants through clonal reproduction has ensured the continuity of morphological traits and their correlation with animal features. Conclusions: Charm plants serve as vehicles for traditional knowledge on animal behavior, tribal warfare and other aspects of oral history and should therefore deserve more scientific and societal attention, especially because there are indications that traditional knowledge on charms is disappearing. © 2015 van Andel et al.

Vossen T.,Leiden University | Towns A.,Leiden University | Ruysschaert S.,WWF Guianas | Quiroz D.,Leiden University | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Folk perceptions of health and illness include cultural bound syndromes (CBS), ailments generally confined to certain cultural groups or geographic regions and often treated with medicinal plants. Our aim was to compare definitions and plant use for CBS regarding child health in the context of the largest migration in recent human history: the trans-Atlantic slave trade. We compared definitions of four CBS ( walk early, evil eye, atita and fontanels) and associated plant use among three Afro-Surinamese populations and their African ancestor groups in Ghana, Be? nin and Gabon. We expected plant use to be similar on species level, and assumed the majority to be weedy or domesticated species, as these occur on both continents and were probably recognized by enslaved Africans. Data were obtained by identifying plants mentioned during interviews with local women from the six different populations. To analyse differences and similarities in plant use we used Detrended Component Analysis (DCA) and a Wald Chi-square test. Definitions of the four cultural bound syndromes were roughly the same on both continents. In total, 324 plant species were used. There was little overlap between Suriname and Africa: 15 species were used on two continents, of which seven species were used for the same CBS. Correspondence on family level was much higher. Surinamese populations used significantly more weedy species than Africans, but equal percentages of domesticated plants. Our data indicate that Afro-Surinamers have searched for similar plants to treat their CBS as they remembered from Africa. In some cases, they have found the same species, but they had to reinvent the largest part of their herbal pharmacopeia to treat their CBS using known plant families or trying out new species. Ideas on health and illness appear to be more resilient than the use of plants to treat them. ©2014 Vossen et al.

Chambault P.,CNRS Hubert Curien Multi-disciplinary Institute | Pinaud D.,CNRS Chize Center for Biological Studies | Vantrepotte V.,CNRS Laboratory of Oceanology and Geosciences | Vantrepotte V.,French National Center for Scientific Research | And 9 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

In response to seasonality and spatial segregation of resources, sea turtles undertake long journeys between their nesting sites and foraging grounds. While satellite tracking has made it possible to outline their migration routes, we still have little knowledge of how they select their foraging grounds and adapt their migration to dynamic environmental conditions. Here, we analyzed the trajectories and diving behavior of 19 adult green turtles (Chelonia mydas) during their post-nesting migration from French Guiana and Suriname to their foraging grounds off the coast of Brazil. First Passage Time analysis was used to identify foraging areas located off Ceará state of Brazil, where the associated habitat corresponds to favorable conditions for seagrass growth, i.e. clear and shallow waters. The dispersal and diving patterns of the turtles revealed several behavioral adaptations to the strong hydrodynamic processes induced by both the North Brazil current and the Amazon River plume. All green turtles migrated south-eastward after the nesting season, confirming that they coped with the strong counter North Brazil current by using a tight corridor close to the shore. The time spent within the Amazon plume also altered the location of their feeding habitats as the longer individuals stayed within the plume, the sooner they initiated foraging. The green turtles performed deeper and shorter dives while crossing the mouth of the Amazon, a strategy which would help turtles avoid the most turbulent upper surface layers of the plume. These adjustments reveal the remarkable plasticity of this green turtle population when reducing energy costs induced by migration. © 2015 Chambault et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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 | Year: 2014

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.

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