This work was conducted by Anna Bass as a requirement for a MS under the curator of amphibians, David Good, at the LSU Museum of Natural Science. She currently works with Brian Bowen at the BEECS Genetic Analysis Core, a subsidiary of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Biotechnology Research at the University of Florida. AB previously worked with Jim Richardson on the hawksbill project at Jumby Bay, Antigua. Zandy-Marie Hillis and Julia Horrocks conduct hawksbill monitoring programs at Buck Island Reef National Monument and Barbados, respectively. Karen Bjorndal directs the Archie Carr Centre for Sea Turtle Research at the University of Florida.
Testing models of female reproductive migratory behaviour and population structure in the Caribbean hawksbill turtle, Eretmochelys imbricata, with mtDNA sequences
Article first published online: 22 SEP 2009
Volume 5, Issue 3, pages 321–328, June 1996
How to Cite
BASS, A. L., GOOD, D. A., BJORNDAL, K. A., RICHARDSON, J. I., HILLIS, Z.-M., HORROCKS, J. A. and BOWEN, B. W. (1996), Testing models of female reproductive migratory behaviour and population structure in the Caribbean hawksbill turtle, Eretmochelys imbricata, with mtDNA sequences. Molecular Ecology, 5: 321–328. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-294X.1996.00073.x
- Issue published online: 22 SEP 2009
- Article first published online: 22 SEP 2009
- Received 5 June 1995 revised 30 August 1995 accepted 11 October 1995
- conservation genetics;
- migratory behaviour;
- marine turtles;
- nesting beaches;
- mitochondrial DNA;
- population structure
Information on the reproductive behaviour and population structure of female hawksbill turtles, Eretmochelys imbricata, is necessary to define conservation priorities for this highly endangered species. Two hypotheses to explain female nest site choice, natal homing and social facilitation, were tested by analysing mtDNA control region sequences of 103 individuals from seven nesting colonies in the Caribbean and western Atlantic. Under the social facilitation model, newly mature females follow older females to a nesting location, and subsequently use this site for future nesting. This model generates an expectation that female lineages will be homogenized among regional nesting colonies. Contrary to expectations of the social facilitation model, mtDNA lineages were highly structured among western Atlantic nesting colonies. These analyses identified at least 6 female breeding stocks in the Caribbean and western Atlantic and support a natal homing model for recruitment of breeding females. Reproductive populations are effectively isolated over ecological time scales, and recovery plans for this species should include protection at the level of individual nesting colonies.