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Sci Total Environ. 2018 Apr 15;621:1000-1011. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.10.126. Epub 2017 Oct 21.

Supplemental feeding and other anthropogenic threats to green turtles (Chelonia mydas) in the Canary Islands.

Author information

1
EcoAqua University Institute, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Ctra. de Taliarte, s/n, 35200 Telde, Las Palmas, Spain; Asociación para el Desarrollo Sostenible y Conservación de la Biodiversidad, C/Blas de Lezo 55, 1° G, 35118 Agüimes, Las Palmas, Spain. Electronic address: catalina.monzon@ulpgc.es.
2
IRBio and Department of Evolutionary Biology, Ecology and Environmental Science, Faculty of Biology, University of Barcelona, Avda. Diagonal 643, 08028 Barcelona, Spain.
3
Tafira Wildlife Rescue Center, Ctra. del Centro km 7, 35017 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Las Palmas, Spain.
4
Toxicology Unit, Research Institute of Biomedical and Health Sciences (IUIBS), University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Las Palmas, Spain.
5
Veterinary Services, Fundación Oceanogràfic, Ciudad de Las Artes y las Ciencias, C/ Eduardo primo Yúfera 1B, 46013, Valencia, Spain.
6
La Tahonilla Wildlife Rescue Center, C/Las Macetas s/n, 38108 San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain.
7
Toxicology Unit, Research Institute of Biomedical and Health Sciences (IUIBS), University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Las Palmas, Spain; Spanish Biomedical Research Centre in Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition (CIBERObn), Spain.
8
Veterinary Faculty, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Trasmontaña s/n, 35416 Arucas, Las Palmas, Spain.
9
Asociación para el Desarrollo Sostenible y Conservación de la Biodiversidad, C/Blas de Lezo 55, 1° G, 35118 Agüimes, Las Palmas, Spain.

Abstract

Green turtles are found in the waters of the Canary Islands but little is known about the ecology and anthropogenic pressures that threaten them. Our results have revealed that juvenile green turtles, ranging in curve carapace length from 26.9-81.0cm, are regularly found in the archipelago and originate from rookeries in both the eastern and western Atlantic. Photo-identification and satellite tracking showed high levels of site fidelity to coastal foraging grounds associated with seagrass meadows, but stable isotope analysis indicated animal-based omnivorous diets after settlement on the continental shelf, with no increase in the consumption of macrophytes as the turtles grew. Most turtles exhibited high levels of some blood biochemical markers associated with a high consumption of proteins and fat. In addition, we determined levels of some organic and inorganic pollutants. Supplemental feeding may also contribute to explain the high prevalence of hooking and boat strikes in the green turtles brought to wildlife rescue centers as compared with loggerhead turtles. Regulatory measures and surveillance should be urgently implemented in order to improve the status of the species in the archipelago.

KEYWORDS:

Biochemistry; East Atlantic; Mitochondrial DNA; Pollutants; Satellite tracking; Stable isotopes

PMID:
29066195
DOI:
10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.10.126
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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