JUVENILE HAWKSBILL AND GREEN SEA TURTLE MOVEMENT BETWEEN SEAGRASS BEDS, CORAL REEFS AND ARTIFICIAL REEFS IN BREWERS BAY, US VIRGIN ISLAND
The movement patterns of juvenile sea turtle is one of the largest gaps in our understanding of these endangered/threatened animals. Movement patterns of juvenile hawksbill Eretmochelys imbricata and green sea turtles Chelonia mydas were analyzed for a period from Aug 1, 2015 to Nov 1, 2015 as part of the UVI's Mare Nostrum project. The project deployed 37 Vemco acoustic receivers in Brewers Bay St Thomas, Virgin Islands. Five hawksbills, 1.4–28.2kg, and five green sea turtles, 9.5-16.4kg, were tagged with external Vemco sonic transmitters. The green sea turtles showed remarkably consistent circadian movement patterns, with days spent in S. filiforme dominated seagrass beds and nights spent in both artificial and coral reefs. The high degree of site fidelity suggests that individuals have specific resting areas where they overnight. All green sea turtles stayed within the approximate 1 km2 area covered by the acoustic array, suggesting home ranges of less than 1 km2. No significant correlation between mass and home range was found in Green sea turtles. Hawksbills showed no obvious circadian movement patterns. Larger Hawksbills had wider movement patterns, suggestive of a correlation between size and home range. Both Hawksbill and Green sea turtles spent more time associated with the artificial reef, extension of St Thomas airport runway, then with natural coral reefs in the Brewers Bay. This data suggest that home ranges of juvenile Hawksbill and Green sea turtles are smaller than that of adult sea turtles reported in the literature.
Jobsis, P. D., University of the Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Isles, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jossart, J., University of the Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Isles, email@example.com
Eanes, S., University of the Virgin Islands, ScottEanes@yahoo.com
Gehrke, K. K., University of the Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Isles, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location: 308 A/B
Presentation is given by student: No