About this Research Topic
Five sea turtle species inhabit the Gulf of Mexico, including the Kemp's ridley, (Lepidochelys kempii), loggerhead (Caretta caretta), green (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), and leatherback (Dermochelys coraicea). All five species are listed as threatened or endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species of 1973, and became depleted due to human activities. Although our understanding of these species has increased since the heightened study and restoration activities associated with the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (DWH), starting in 2010, significant gaps in our knowledge remain. These gaps have limited the ability of managers to develop effective restoration activities to help recover these highly migratory species, which inhabit multiple state and international jurisdictions during their lifespan. However, recent technological and analytical advances have created new opportunities to study these animals and obtain data needed for conservation and management purposes. This Research Topic intends to present the broadened scope of study made possible by these advances.
For this Research Topic, we invite contributions advancing our understanding of sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico. We welcome investigations of habitat use, ecology, behavior, population demographics, and other biological topics for the various life stages of the five sea turtle species that occur in the Gulf of Mexico. Description of spatial and temporal overlap of habitat use by various life stages and species is encouraged. Contributions should introduce new knowledge or present new approaches to improve our understanding of these species when they are residing in, or migrating through, the Gulf of Mexico. Technical Review articles and submissions reviewing the challenges faced by this thriving field of research in contexts involving conservation and management are also welcome.
Contributions will be classified into four themes:
Movements and habitat use - Data collected on the spatial use of these turtles, collected by satellite and acoustic telemetry, aerial surveys, accelerometers, particle tracking, and other means.
Foraging ecology and food webs - Data collected through examination of items consumed, stable isotope analysis, and isoscape analysis.
Growth, genetic stock, and population trends - Data collected through mark recapture, population genetics, and humerous growth ring studies.
Conservation and management.
Photo by Hector Chenge Alvarez, Gladys Porter Zoo
Keywords: Sea Turtle, Gulf of Mexico, Conservation, Habitat Use, Movements