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Title: Seasonal variation in sea turtle density and abundance in the southeast Florida current and surrounding waters

Assessment and management of sea turtle populations is often limited by a lack of available data pertaining to at-sea distributions at appropriate spatial and temporal resolutions. Assessing the spatial and temporal distributions of marine turtles in an open system poses both observational and analytical challenges due to the turtles’ highly migratory nature. Surface counts of marine turtles in waters along the southern part of Florida’s east coast were made in and adjacent to the southeast portion of the Florida Current using standard aerial surveys during 2011 and 2012 to assess their seasonal presence. This area is of particular concern for sea turtles as interest increases in offshore energy developments, specifically harnessing the power of the Florida Current. While it is understood that marine turtles use these waters, here we evaluate seasonal variation in sea turtle abundance and density over two years. Density of sea turtles observed within the study area ranged from 0.003 turtles km-2 in the winter of 2011 to 0.064 turtles km-2 in the spring of 2012. As a result, this assessment of marine turtles in the waters off southeast Florida quantifies their in-water abundance across seasons in this area to establish baselines and inform future management strategiesmore » of these protected species.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [1]
  1. Florida Atlantic Univ., Boca Raton, FL (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1239251
Grant/Contract Number:
EE0000319
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
PLoS ONE
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 10; Journal Issue: 12; Journal ID: ISSN 1932-6203
Publisher:
Public Library of Science
Research Org:
Florida Atlantic Univ., Boca Raton, FL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
turtles; sea water; habitats; marine conservation; spring; wildlife; animal migration; Florida