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Title: Ecology and conservation of the leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) nesting in Brazil
Author: Poggio Colman, L.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7962 8756
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2019
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Knowledge of life-history parameters of marine turtles is essential for understanding their ecology and for effective conservation. The leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) is globally classified as Vulnerable by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN), however, distinct subpopulations are recognised and require specific data for the assessment of their conservation status. The Southwest Atlantic Ocean subpopulation is known to regularly nest only in eastern Brazil, on the coast of the state of Espírito Santo. This thesis presents a collection of chapters that investigate the ecology and conservation of this taxon. Multiple technologies and methodologies are employed to ask both ecological and management questions, assessing key population parameters to inform conservation. Here I use long-term data (30 years) to investigate the nesting ecology, population trends and conservation status of leatherback turtles in Espírito Santo. I explore their nesting environment and provide baseline data which will guide further research and management strategies under future scenarios of climate change. I investigate the marine habitat use through stable isotope approaches and satellite telemetry to infer spatial ecology, setting out the conservation situation and perspectives of this important population. Finally, I assess the potential impacts of artificial light on wildlife, using marine turtles in Brazil as a case study. The leatherback turtle rookery in Espírito Santo shows signs of population recovery, however, the existence of various threats means this population remains subject of conservation concern.
Supervisor: Godley, B. ; Broderick, A. Sponsor: Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Cientifico eTecnologico
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: leatherback turtle ; Dermochelys coriacea ; Brazil ; nesting ecology ; stable isotopes ; sex ratios ; satellite tracking ; artificial light pollution