Nathan J. Robinson

Nathan J. Robinson
Institut de Ciències del Mar · Department of Marine Biology

Doctor of Philosophy

About

80
Publications
57,679
Reads
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723
Citations
Additional affiliations
January 2017 - June 2019
Cape Eleuthera Institute
Position
  • Managing Director
Education
August 2010 - May 2014
Purdue University
Field of study
  • Marine Biology and Oceanography
June 2005 - June 2009
University of Southampton
Field of study
  • Marine Biology

Publications

Publications (80)
Article
Full-text available
The increasing quantity of plastic debris in the oceans pose a growing threat to marine life. Large amounts of plastic debris are often reported in the gastrointestinal tracts of necropsied sea turtles, but only rarely is it possible to report on the potential impacts of plastic debris on living turtles. Here, we describe an encounter with a male o...
Article
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Previous studies have shown that the world’s largest reptile – the leatherback turtle Dermochelys coriacea – conducts flexible foraging migrations that can cover thousands of kilometres between nesting sites and distant foraging areas. The vast distances that may be travelled by migrating leatherback turtles have greatly complicated conservation ef...
Article
Full-text available
The legend of the “kraken” has captivated humans for millennia, yet our knowledge of the large deep-sea cephalopods that inspired this myth remains limited. Conventional methods for exploring the deep sea, including the use of nets, manned submersibles, and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), are primarily suited for studying slow-moving or sessile...
Article
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Competition for space drives many marine propagules to colonize the external surfaces of other marine organisms, a phenomenon known as epibiosis. Epibiosis appears to be a universal phenomenon among sea turtles and an extensive body of scientific literature exists describing sea turtle-epibiont interactions. When viewed in isolation, however, these...
Article
Full-text available
Sea turtles are a circumglobal taxon that receive considerable research and conservation attention; however, there is little published information about patterns of representation for people working with these species. To assess long-term trends in gender, geographic, and institutional representation within the sea turtle community, we quantified i...
Article
Full-text available
Aim Understanding the spatial ecology of animal movements is a critical element in conserving long‐lived, highly mobile marine species. Analyzing networks developed from movements of six sea turtle species reveals marine connectivity and can help prioritize conservation efforts. Location Global. Methods We collated telemetry data from 1235 indivi...
Article
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Deep-ocean-dwelling microbes may hold keys to improved medical diagnostics and new drugs for fighting diseases. But we must search Earth’s most extreme habitats to find them.
Article
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Skin biopsies are routinely collected from sea turtles for a variety of molecular analyses; however, almost no information exists on the natural healing rates at the site of the biopsy. Here, we monitored the healing rates of 17 juvenile green turtles (Chelonia mydas) for up to 488 d after we took a 6-mm biopsy tissue sample in Eleuthera, The Baham...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Our understanding of the importance of microbiomes on large aquatic animals—such as whales, sea turtles and manatees—has advanced considerably in recent years. Recent activity describing the epizoic diatoms growing on marine vertebrates suggests that these epibiotic diatom communities constitute diverse, polyphyletic, and compositionall...
Preprint
Our understanding of the importance of microbiomes on large aquatic animals—such as whales, sea turtles and manatees—has advanced considerably in recent years. Recent activity describing epizoic diatoms suggests that epibiotic diatom communities constitute diverse, polyphyletic, and compositionally stable assemblages that include both putatively ob...
Article
Full-text available
Here, we report on a green turtle Chelonia mydas hatchling with a dipygus deformity (a bifurcation of the body-axis at the caudal end) resulting in polymelia (additional limbs). In addition, this turtle appeared to retain full functionality of its extra limbs.
Article
We present 4 observations of hawksbill turtles Eretmochelys imbricata found in anchialine ponds on 3 islands in The Bahamas. These ponds had no surface connection to the ocean, but they were connected by subterranean conduits that, in at least one instance, extended over 1.5 km in length. It is possible that the turtles were placed in these ponds b...
Article
Full-text available
Movement is a fundamental characteristic of life, yet some invertebrate taxa, such as barnacles, permanently affix to a substratum as adults. Adult barnacles became ‘sessile’ over 500 Ma; however, we confirm that the epizoic sea turtle barnacle, Chelonibia testudinaria , has evolved the capacity for self-directed locomotion as adults. We also asses...
Research Proposal
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PLOME proposes a spatially adaptive, non-invasive, modular platform of independent and wirelessly connected benthic stations and AUVs to intelligently observe, monitor and map marine ecosystems, during long-lasting periods with real-time supervision. The proposal brings together elements that can be effectively developed with current technology, to...
Article
Full-text available
Photo-identification is a non-invasive option for mark-recapture. Here, we tested the effectiveness of APHIS, a semi-automated photo-identification software, to distinguish between individual Bahamian Racers (Cubo-phis vudii vudii) on the island of Eleuthera, The Bahamas. Over 10 months, we photographed 50 Bahamian Racers. We first identified indiv...
Article
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Sea turtles, like other air-breathing diving vertebrates, commonly experience significant gas embolism (GE) when incidentally caught at depth in fishing gear and brought to the surface. To better understand why sea turtles develop GE, we built a mathematical model to estimate partial pressures of N 2 (PN 2), O 2 (PO 2), and CO 2 (PCO 2) in the majo...
Article
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Point 1: Stereo-video camera systems (SVCSs) are a promising tool to remotely measure body size of wild animals without the need for animal handling. Here, we assessed the accuracy of SVCSs for measuring straight carapace length (SCL) of sea turtles. Point 2: To achieve this, we hand captured and measured 63 juvenile, subadult, and adult sea turtle...
Article
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Determining gender in snakes almost always involves highly intrusive techniques that have the potential to harm or at least significantly stress the animal. Clear morphological differences of conspecific males and females, defined as sexual dimorphism, can provide an alternative strategy to determine the sex of a snake with little harm. The commonl...
Article
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To maximise reproductive fitness, species make trade-offs among reproductive traits, e.g., offspring quantity vs. offspring size, within energetic, anatomical, and physiological constraints. Sea turtles are a model taxon to study reproductive trade-offs, because they lack parental care and because there are strong selective pressures on hatchlings...
Article
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Wildlife rehabilitation programs are widely employed for many endangered marine species and can serve as engaging platforms for environmental outreach. However, their effectiveness at supporting populations in the wild depends on whether rescued animals can survive and reproduce after being released. Here, we assessed whether cold-stunned juvenile...
Poster
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Preliminary research on comparative fluid dynamics of three shark species.
Article
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The countless tranquil beaches of the Caribbean, with their gently lapping waves and fringing palm trees, give the feeling of permanence. Although you could be excused for thinking that these ecosystems—and their sea turtle inhabitants—have remained largely untouched for millennia, this is far from the truth. Sea turtles have provided the people of...
Article
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The El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the predominant interannual pattern of climate variability in the world and may become extreme approximately once every 20 years. Climate-forced interannual variability in fecundity rates of long-lived species are well-studied, but the effect of extreme events is less clear. Here, we analyzed the effect of...
Article
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Marine turtles often conduct extensive migrations from foraging to breeding habitats. Turtles may spend several months in these breeding habitats, while periodically taking brief excursions onto terrestrial environments to nest. Identification and protection of these breeding habitats over the duration of the reproductive season is therefore vital...
Article
Full-text available
There is a wealth of published information on the epibiont communities of sea turtles, yet many of these studies have exclusively sampled epibionts found only on the carapace. Considering that epibionts may be found on almost all body-surfaces and that it is highly plausible to expect different regions of the body to host distinct epibiont taxa, th...
Article
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The diatom genus Proschkinia is a common element of biofilms covering diverse substrata in saline inland or shallow coastal environments. It can be distinguished from other naviculoid taxa by its lanceolate valves with a fistula located within the central area and numerous open girdle bands with a U-shaped cross-section and a single row of perforat...
Article
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Sea turtle species in the genus Lepidochelys exhibit an unusual behavioural polymorphism, nesting in both aggregations and solitarily. Aggregated nesting events, termed ‘arribadas’, involve hundreds of thousands of females congregating at a single nesting beach over a few days to oviposit their eggs. Aggregate and solitary nesting behaviours are as...
Article
Full-text available
Sea turtles are migratory animals that travel from foraging grounds to specific nesting beaches every few years and that, therefore, can be influenced by oceanographic conditions in several different habitats. We assessed how sea surface temperature (SST) and chlorophyll-α (Chl-α) within both internesting and foraging areas influence the nesting ab...
Preprint
Full-text available
There is a wealth of published information on the epibiont communities of sea turtles, yet many of these studies have exclusively sampled epibionts found only on the carapace. Considering that epibionts may be found on almost all body-surfaces and that it is highly plausible to expect different regions of the body to host distinct epibiont taxa, th...
Technical Report
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A growing interest in the relationship between sea turtles and their epibionts (i.e., marine organisms that attach to, or dwell on the exterior shell or skin of sea turtles) resulted in a workshop focused on sea turtle epibiosis at the 37th International Sea Turtle Symposium, Las Vegas, Nevada (Pinou et al. 2017). The primary objectives of the work...
Article
Full-text available
Sea turtle hatchlings are known to vocalize; however, the purpose of these vocalizations is currently unknown. One hypothesis is that these vocalizations serve to synchronize hatching or starting the emergence from the nest. To test this hypothesis, we characterized and compared the frequency and duration of the sounds made by Olive Ridley Turtles...
Article
First sampled in the late 1990s, Campamento Tortuguero La Gloria, in Jalisco, Mexico, was resampled for olive ridley sea turtle (Lepidochyles olivacea Eschscholtz) diversity 10 years later. A comparison with all previously reported mitochondrial sequences revealed that these new samples added to the known genetic diversity for this species, and rev...
Article
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Several populations of a new Craspedostauros species were observed on museum specimens of juvenile green turtle and Kemp’s ridleys collected from Long Island Beach, New York, USA. The new taxon, Craspedostauros alatus Majewska & Ashworth sp. nov., exhibits a distinctive set of morphological features typical of the genus, including cribrate areolae,...
Article
Drone footage of a large American crocodile bottom walking in shallow coastal water off Costa Rica was used to estimate oblique pace and stride lengths and pace angulations from autopodial touchdowns. The crocodile's pes stride lengths were longer but more variable than expected for an individual of comparable size high-walking on land, due in part...
Article
Photo-identification using animals' natural markings is a cheaper and less impactful alternative to the use of more conventional external or internal tags for identifying individual animals. Photo-ID has already been successfully employed to monitor hard-shelled sea turtles, specifically using facial scales. However, photographing facial features m...
Article
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Olivid gastropods of the genus Agaronia are dominant predators within invertebrate communities on sandy beaches throughout Pacific Central America. At Playa Grande, on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, we observed 327 natural predation events by Agaronia propatula . For each predation event, we documented prey taxa and body size of both predator and...
Data
Original raw data including date, location, prey taxon, and predator and prey sizes for each recorded predation event.
Data
Calculation of the expected size distribution of successful predators.
Article
Full-text available
The use of satellite systems and manned aircraft surveys for remote data collection has been shown to be transformative for sea turtle conservation and research by enabling the collection of data on turtles and their habitats over larger areas than can be achieved by surveys on foot or by boat. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones are increasi...
Article
Relocation of turtle eggs for research or conservation purposes is associated with significant risk, because they are prone to movement-induced mortality resulting from damage to embryonic membranes. Hypoxic incubation of eggs after oviposition maintains embryos in pre-ovipositional embryonic arrest and delays development. Whether or not this exten...
Article
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We documented trackways of free-living Crocodylus acutus on beaches at the mouths of Tamarindo and Ventanas estuaries, Costa Rica. Our crocodiles had estimated total lengths of 1–3 meters or more. Manus prints have five digits, with digits I–III bearing claw marks. Pes prints have four digits, with claw marks on digits I–III. The pes is plantigrade...
Article
Full-text available
Leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) have declined dramatically in the eastern Pacific Ocean (EP) in recent decades. Traditionally, population assessments have relied on the numbers of turtles on the beaches with the highest abundance of turtles (index beaches) and often disregarded the importance of nesting beaches with smaller, but still re...
Article
The number of nesting leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) in the eastern Pacific Ocean has declined dramatically since the late 1980s. This decline has been attributed to egg poaching and interactions with fisheries. However, it is not clear how much of the decline should also be ascribed to variability in the physical characteristics of the...
Article
Sea turtles congregate in specific in-water habitats during reproductive periods. These habitats are inherently tied to the location of their nesting beaches, but they are also influenced by the prevailing oceanographic conditions. Here, we characterized the movements and diving behaviour of leatherback turtles Dermochelys coriacea between nesting...
Article
Full-text available
There are two commonly utilised, but distinct, methods for measuring carapace length of leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea). Either the carapace is measured along the central ridge or to the side of the central ridge. Here, we demonstrate that these two measurements produce differing results. Moreover, we formulate a globally-applicable corr...
Article
Full-text available
Knowledge of an animal’s behavior during particular life history stages can provide insights into habitat selection, and this can have important conservation implications. Gravid hawksbill turtles spend the internesting interval resting on the seafloor, but their diving behavior has only been previously examined in shallow-water habitats. We examin...
Article
Full-text available
The macro-epibiotic communities of sea turtles have been subject to growing interest in recent years, yet their micro-epibiotic counterparts are almost entirely unknown. Here, we provide the first evidence that diatoms are epibionts for all seven extant species of sea turtle. Using Scanning Electron Microscopy, we inspected superficial carapace or...