- An 8-year study of the foraging abundance of an Eretmochelys imbricata aggregation, found on 13 reefs (Howick Group) within the northern section of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park was undertaken.
- A Cormack–Jolly–Seber method within program MARK was used to: (1) compare survival and recapture probabilities among age and sex classes of turtles; and (2) estimate survival and recapture rates for male and female adults and sub-adults from 665 capture–mark–recapture profiles of E. imbricata.
- Mean annual population density estimates were consistently greater for adult female E. imbricata (n = 333.7; SD = 135.6; R = 221–581) than for adult males (n = 32.4; SD = 33.4; R = 8–98), with both adult males and females displaying high survivorship rates (71.1%; 92.2%, respectively). This was also apparent in immature age-classes, with male and female turtles showing similarly high survivorship likelihoods (78.0%; 93.0%, respectively).
- Both sexes exhibited a similar overall trend with a peak population density being displayed in the first two years of the study, followed by a general decline in the female stock and stable male population.
- These are the only reliable long-term abundance time-series data for a population that includes all age-classes of E. imbricata in the western Pacific and provide good baseline data for the detection of possible climate change induced trends.
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.