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Variation in spatial distribution of juvenile loggerhead turtles in the eastern Atlantic and western Mediterranean Sea

AuthorsMonzón-Argüello, C.; Rico, Ciro ; Carreras, Carlos ; Calabuig, Pascual; Marco, Adolfo ; López-Jurado, Luis F.
Issue Date2009
CitationJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 373: 79- 86 (2009)
AbstractLoggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) originating from the Western Atlantic carry out one of the largest marine migrations, reaching the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea. It has been proposed that this transatlantic journey is simply a consequence of drifting, with the lack of a target destination and a passive dispersal with oceanic currents. This predicts that the size of the source populations and geographic distance to the feeding grounds should play important roles in defining stock composition in the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea. Under this scenario, near pelagic stocks would have no genetic structure, and would be composed of similar cohorts from regional rookeries. To address this question, we sampled individuals from one important eastern Atlantic feeding ground, the Canary Islands, and sequenced a fragment of the mitochondrial DNA control region. We compared the composition of this feeding stock with published data of other proximal areas: Madeira, Azores and Andalusia. >Rookery-centric> mixed stock analysis showed that the distribution of loggerhead sea turtles along the eastern Atlantic feeding grounds was in latitudinal accordance to their natal origin: loggerhead turtles from Florida were significantly more abundant in Azores (30%) than in Canary Islands (13%), while those from Mexico had a poor representation in Azores (13%) but were more prevalent in Canary Islands (34%). Also, genetic stability in temporal and size analyses of the Canary Island aggregation was found, showing a long period of residency. These results indicate a non-random distribution of loggerhead juveniles in oceanic foraging grounds. We discuss possible explanations to this latitudinal variation. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/j.jembe.2009.03.007
issn: 0022-0981
Appears in Collections:(EBD) Artículos
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