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Seasonal Variation in Sea Turtle Density and Abundance in the Southeast Florida Current and Surrounding Waters.

Bovery CM, Wyneken J - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: This area is of particular concern for sea turtles as interest increases in offshore energy developments, specifically harnessing the power of the Florida Current.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.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 strategies of these protected species.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
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. 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 strategies of these protected species.

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Study area for aerial surveys.Map includes an (a) inset of the United States of America and (b) the state of Florida showing the region for this study. Hatched area indicates extent of the survey area over which aerial surveys were conducted. Dotted lines representing the core of the Florida Current are meant as approximations for reference. Source: ArcWorld Supplement, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission-Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.
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pone.0145980.g001: Study area for aerial surveys.Map includes an (a) inset of the United States of America and (b) the state of Florida showing the region for this study. Hatched area indicates extent of the survey area over which aerial surveys were conducted. Dotted lines representing the core of the Florida Current are meant as approximations for reference. Source: ArcWorld Supplement, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission-Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.

Mentions: The study area was defined as waters off the eastern coast of Florida extending south of 26°43′N, (near West Palm Beach, Florida) to north of 25°40′N, near Miami, Florida (Fig 1). This area encompasses the southern portion of the Gulf Stream that runs northward between the western Bahamas and the eastern coast of Florida (hereafter the Florida Current). Our study also includes an area that has been identified as a potential site for oceanic energy interests. Structures in the water column have potential to impact wildlife (at various life stages) that use the Florida Current, as well as coastal habitats westward of the current.


Seasonal Variation in Sea Turtle Density and Abundance in the Southeast Florida Current and Surrounding Waters.

Bovery CM, Wyneken J - PLoS ONE (2015)

Study area for aerial surveys.Map includes an (a) inset of the United States of America and (b) the state of Florida showing the region for this study. Hatched area indicates extent of the survey area over which aerial surveys were conducted. Dotted lines representing the core of the Florida Current are meant as approximations for reference. Source: ArcWorld Supplement, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission-Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4696830&req=5

pone.0145980.g001: Study area for aerial surveys.Map includes an (a) inset of the United States of America and (b) the state of Florida showing the region for this study. Hatched area indicates extent of the survey area over which aerial surveys were conducted. Dotted lines representing the core of the Florida Current are meant as approximations for reference. Source: ArcWorld Supplement, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission-Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.
Mentions: The study area was defined as waters off the eastern coast of Florida extending south of 26°43′N, (near West Palm Beach, Florida) to north of 25°40′N, near Miami, Florida (Fig 1). This area encompasses the southern portion of the Gulf Stream that runs northward between the western Bahamas and the eastern coast of Florida (hereafter the Florida Current). Our study also includes an area that has been identified as a potential site for oceanic energy interests. Structures in the water column have potential to impact wildlife (at various life stages) that use the Florida Current, as well as coastal habitats westward of the current.

Bottom Line: This area is of particular concern for sea turtles as interest increases in offshore energy developments, specifically harnessing the power of the Florida Current.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.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 strategies of these protected species.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
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. 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 strategies of these protected species.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus