Publication Date

2011-05-04

Availability

Open access

Embargo Period

2011-05-04

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Marine Affairs and Policy (Marine)

Date of Defense

2010-12-02

First Committee Member

Daniel O. Suman

Second Committee Member

David J. Die

Third Committee Member

Kate L. Mansfield

Abstract

A twenty year mark-recapture dataset from the loggerhead nesting beach on Keewaydin Island, off the southwest coast of Florida, was analyzed using a two-state open robust design model in Program MARK to provide insight into recent nesting declines in the state. A total of 2,292 encounters representing 841 individual tag IDs were used for this analysis. Survival was estimated at 0.73 (95% CI 0.69-0.76), and there was no evidence from remigration rate or clutch frequency to suggest the composition of the nesting assemblage had changed over time. The mark-recapture analysis was supplemented with a satellite tracking component to identify the offshore foraging areas utilized by Keewaydin nesters. Eleven nesting females were outfitted with platform terminal transmitters, which transmitted for 42 to 300+ days including inter-nesting intervals and subsequent migration to foraging grounds. Site fidelity tests and kernel density home range analyses were used to describe foraging habitats. Females foraging in the eastern Gulf of Mexico were within the recent 64 m bottom longline fishery restriction. Areas identified as important habitats during the remigration interval should be used to inform managers in creating targeted management strategies to aid population recovery without the use of broad fishery closures.

Keywords

Loggerhead sea turtle, mark-recapture, remigration, satellite telemetry, foraging, management

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