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The island hoppers: how foraging influences green turtle Chelonia mydas abundance over space and time in the Lakshadweep Archipelago, India

Kale, N and Manoharakrishnan, M and Bharti, DK and Poti, M and Shanker, K (2022) The island hoppers: how foraging influences green turtle Chelonia mydas abundance over space and time in the Lakshadweep Archipelago, India. In: Endangered Species Research, 48 . pp. 1-14.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.3354/esr01181


Adult green turtles are known to display either preference in their foraging habits or fidelity to their foraging sites which, in turn, influences their migrations and the availability of forage. With an abundant supply of seagrass and algae, the lagoons of the Lakshadweep Archipelago off the Indian west coast serve as significant feeding grounds for green turtles. In the last 2 decades, the numbers of foraging green turtles have varied across islands, leading to speculation about their foraging patterns and movements. We collated secondary data and conducted periodic surveys between 2013 and 2019 to record trends in green turtle abundance and seagrass characteristics and investigate relationships between them. Over the last decade, green turtle abundances have fluctuated widely with increases followed by sharp declines within different lagoons. Our results also show that a reduction in seagrass density, particularly Thalassia sp. and Cymo - docea sp., coincided with the decline in green turtle abundance. Moreover, turtle presence was observed at sites with higher seagrass density and canopy height. Our findings indicate that green turtles appeared to forage in particular lagoons until their preferred resources declined, before moving to other islands within the Archipelago or other unknown locations. Therefore, to devise effective management strategies, it is crucial to understand how this green turtle population will adapt to the decline in foraging resources. The declining seagrass populations also suggest the need for an ecosystem approach towards green turtle conservation © The authors 2022. Open Access under Creative Commons by Attribution Licence. Use, distribution and reproduction are un - restricted. Authors and original publication must be credited

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Endangered Species Research
Publisher: Inter-Research
Additional Information: The copyright for this article belongs to the Authors.
Keywords: abundance; alga; foraging behavior; movement; seagrass; turtle, India; Lakshadweep
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2022 10:20
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2022 10:20
URI: https://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/74105

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