Newly described nesting sites of the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) and the hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) in the central Red Sea
KAUST DepartmentRed Sea Research Center, Division of Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Thuwal, Makkah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Marine Science Program
Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering (BESE) Division
Red Sea Research Center (RSRC)
Environmental Science and Engineering Program
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/10754/679609
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AbstractBackground: There is relatively little published information about sea turtle nesting distribution and seasonality in the Saudi Arabian Red Sea. Upcoming large-scale developments occurring along the Saudi Arabian Red Sea coast could negatively affect many sea turtle nesting beaches with potential impacts on the survival of local populations. Methods: In 2019, two coastal beaches and three near-shore islands were surveyed for turtle nesting in the central Red Sea. We recorded all emergences, examined beach morphology, and collected sand samples to determine grain size, moisture content and colour. Results: Sea turtle nesting was found at all surveyed sites, though emergence counts were often low. The limited occurrence of nesting at several previously undocumented sites suggests that nesting activity may be widespread, but sparsely distributed, in the central Red Sea region. In addition, nesting at novel sites appeared to favour the seaward side of islands, a pattern that was not observed in previously documented areas. The substrate of most surveyed sites was composed of calcium carbonate with Ras Baridi as the only exception; it was composed of dark quartz-rich sediment. This study highlights several important sea turtle rookeries while also demonstrating that low levels of nesting occur throughout the region, although inter-annual nesting patterns still need to be determined. Future developments should be steered away from key nesting areas and the seaward bias in marginal rookeries should be taken into account where possible.
CitationScott, K., Tanabe, L. K., Miller, J. D., & Berumen, M. L. (2022). Newly described nesting sites of the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) and the hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) in the central Red Sea. PeerJ, 10, e13408. Portico. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.13408
SponsorsThis work was supported by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) through baseline funding to Michael L. Berumen.
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