Body size distribution demonstrates flexible habitat shift of green turtle (Chelonia mydas)

Ryota Hayashi, Hideaki Nishizawa
2015 Global Ecology and Conservation  
Green turtles (Chelonia mydas), listed as Endangered on the IUCN redlist, have a broad migration area and undergo a habitat shift from the pelagic (hatchling) to neritic (growth) zones. We studied habitat utilisation of the coastal feeding grounds around Okinawajima Island, Japan, in 103 green turtles. The western and eastern turtle aggregations off Okinawa had homogeneous genetic compositions, but different body size distributions. The western coastal feeding ground supported larger
more » ... than the eastern coastal feeding ground. Thus, green turtles appear to prefer different feeding grounds during their growth, and have a flexible habitat shift including a secondary habitat shift from east to west around Okinawajima Island after they are recruited to the coastal habitats. This study suggests maintaining coastal habitat diversity is important for green turtle conservation.
doi:10.1016/j.gecco.2014.11.008 fatcat:rx43wup7yragphdcuqhppkgqci