Scott David Whiting

Scott David Whiting
Department of Environment and Conservation (Western Australia) · Science and Conservation Division

BSc (Hons), PhD
Principal Research Scientist, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Perth, Western Australia.

About

93
Publications
25,593
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1,891
Citations
Additional affiliations
June 2011 - present
Department of Parks and Wildlife,
Position
  • Group Leader

Publications

Publications (93)
Article
Full-text available
1. The residence, home range, and habitat use of juvenile (42.0–63.5 cm midline curved carapace length, CCL), subadult (68.6–84.6 cm CCL), and adult (81.9–104.2 cm CCL) green turtles (Chelonia mydas) was investigated using passive acoustic telemetry in Ningaloo Marine Park, north-western Australia. Eighty-one turtles ranging in size from 42 to 104...
Article
Full-text available
Mercury pollution in the surface ocean has more than doubled over the past century. Within oceanic food webs, sea turtles have life history characteristics that make them especially vulnerable to mercury (Hg) accumulation. In this study we investigated Hg concentrations in the skin and carapace of nesting flatback turtles (Natator depressus) from t...
Article
Full-text available
The ingestion of plastic by marine turtles is now reported for all species. Small juvenile turtles (including post-hatchling and oceanic juveniles) are thought to be most at risk, due to feeding preferences and overlap with areas of high plastic abundance. Their remote and dispersed life stage, however, results in limited access and assessments. He...
Article
Full-text available
Western Australia (WA) is one of the largest remaining hotspots for hawksbill turtles. Providing data from this region is a total of 42 satellite transmitter deployments on nesting hawksbill turtles at six rookeries (five located in WA and one in Timor-Leste) between 2000 and 2017. We used this data to quantify inter-nesting, migratory and foraging...
Article
Full-text available
The lack of accurate distribution maps and reliable abundance estimates for marine species can limit the ability of managers to design scale‐appropriate management measures for a stock or population. Here, we tested the utility of aerial photogrammetry for conducting large‐scale surveys of nesting marine turtles at remote locations, with a focus on...
Article
Predation is a primary selection pressure contributing to both the morphological and behavioral adaptations of organisms (Brodie 1983, Lima and Dill 1990). However, studying the anti‐predator behaviors of aquatic taxa such as sea turtles is currently limited by the difficulty of observing the natural behaviors of free‐ranging individuals at sea (He...
Article
Waves are thought to provide an important directional cue for hatchlings of marine turtles to navigate through the nearshore zone and to facilitate dispersal to oceanic waters. As the flatback turtle (Natator depressus) is the only species of marine turtle that lacks an oceanic juvenile stage and remains on the continental shelf throughout the enti...
Article
Full-text available
Aim Satellite tracking studies of marine megafauna have grown over the last few decades. The number of these individual datasets are now at levels which if combined, can infer on population level movement and spatial use. Here we use this approach to quantify distribution and important areas for one of the largest populations of green turtles (Chel...
Article
Full-text available
A severe lack of distribution data for aquatic reptiles in northern Australia leaves many taxa vulnerable to extirpation and extinction. Environmental DNA (eDNA) technologies offer sensitive and non-invasive genetic alternatives to trapping and visual surveys and are increasingly employed for the detection of aquatic and semi-aquatic reptiles.Howev...
Article
Streptococcus iniae causes high mortality in cultured and wild fish stocks globally. Since the first report in captive Amazon river dolphins Inia geoffrensis in 1976, it has emerged in finfish across all continents except Antarctica. In March 2016, an estimated 17000 fish were observed dead and dying along a remote 70 km stretch of the Kimberley co...
Preprint
Full-text available
A severe lack of distribution data for aquatic reptiles in northern Australia leaves many taxa vulnerable to extirpation and extinction. Environmental DNA (eDNA) technologies offer sensitive and non-invasive genetic alternatives to trapping and visual surveys and are increasingly employed for the detection of aquatic and semi-aquatic reptiles. Howe...
Article
Radionuclides from 1950s weapons testing at the Montebello Islands, Western Australia, may impact sea turtle embryos incubating within eggs laid in contaminated sands or be taken up into adult body tissues where they can contribute to radiation dose over a turtles' 60+ year lifespan. We measured plutonium in all local samples including turtle skin,...
Article
Both the development rate and sex of sea turtle embryos depend on incubation temperature, as all species of sea turtle are ectotherms and show temperature‐dependent sex determination (TSD). Theory predicts that selection should act on populations to optimise developmental times and primary sex ratios. In this study, we use a consistent methodology...
Article
Full-text available
Background: State-space models are important tools for quality control and analysis of error-prone animal movement data. The near real-time (within 24 h) capability of the Argos satellite system can aid dynamic ocean management of human activities by informing when animals enter wind farms, shipping lanes, and other intensive use zones. This capab...
Article
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Data have now been compiled from the Indian Ocean to complete the first global map of loggerhead telemetry (pp. 32–33). This is the unique story of Indian Ocean loggerheads, in the final chapter in this series of ocean-scale overviews.
Article
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1. Identification of the geographic extent of population boundaries, the distribution of genetic lineages, and the amount of genetic exchange among breeding groups is needed for effective conservation of vulnerable marine migratory species. This is particularly true of the flatback turtle (Natator depressus), which only breeds in Australia but has...
Article
The continual development of ecological models and availability of high-resolution gridded climate surfaces have stimulated studies that link climate variables to functional traits of organisms. A primary constraint of these studies is the ability to reliably predict the microclimate that an organism experiences using macroscale climate inputs. Thi...
Technical Report
Full-text available
http://www.ningalooturtles.org.au/pdf_downloads/reports-publications/NTP-Muiron-Islands-Phase-1-Final-Report-for-Woodside.pdf
Article
Growing human populations are driving the development of coastal infrastructure such as port facilities. Here, we used passive acoustic telemetry to examine the effects of a jetty and artificial light on the rates of predation of flatback turtle (Natator depressus) hatchlings as they disperse through nearshore waters. When released near a jetty, ar...
Article
There have been efforts around the globe to track individuals of many marine species and assess their movements and distribution, with the putative goal of supporting their conservation and management. Determining whether, and how, tracking data have been successfully applied to address real-world conservation issues is, however, difficult. Here, w...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Report prepared for Woodside Energy Limited. Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Exmouth. 51 pp. http://www.ningalooturtles.org.au/media_reports.html
Technical Report
Full-text available
Overview (Chapter 1) The Kimberley coast remains a region of inadequate knowledge to understand the status of regional marine turtle stocks that face multiple contemporary pressures such as climate change, marine debris, coastal development and increasing visitation. Existing knowledge reveals scattered information on the distribution and relative...
Article
Full-text available
After emerging from nests, neonate sea turtles entering the water are thought to orientate away from shore using wave cues to guide them out to sea. Artificial light may interfere with this process, but the relative importance of natural and anthropogenic cues to the dispersal of hatchlings is unknown. Here, we used acoustic telemetry to track the...
Article
Full-text available
Drones are being increasingly used in innovative ways to enhance environmental research and conservation. Despite their widespread use for wildlife studies, there are few scientifically justified guidelines that provide minimum distances at which wildlife can be approached to minimize visual and auditory disturbance. These distances are essential t...
Data
Sea turtles observed during drone surveys of nearshore habitat at CD and SC between 5 and 15 August, 2017. (DOCX)
Data
Sea turtle observed foraging on a shallow reef from a drone at low altitude. Examples of a drone being lowered to approximately 9 m over a foraging hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) at Turtle Reef, Camden Sound, Western Australia. (TIF)
Data
Sea turtle observed from a drone off a nesting beach. Female flatback sea turtle (Natator depressus) observed from a drone approximately 250 m off the nesting beach at Cape Domett, Western Australia. Individual was observed at an altitude of 30 m on 5 August, 2017. (TIF)
Data
Sea turtles observed from a drone foraging in shallow reef habitat. Sea turtles observed foraging on algae-covered reef habitat from a drone altitude of 30 m at (A) Bare Sand Island, Northern Territory, and (B) Montgomery Reef, Camden Sound, Western Australia. (TIF)
Article
Full-text available
Sea turtles found stranded on beaches are often rehabilitated before being released back into the wild. The location and date of release is largely selected on an informal basis, which may not maximize the chance of survival. As oceanic conditions have a large influence on the movements of neonate sea turtles, this study aimed to identify the best...
Article
Full-text available
Marine turtles produce hundreds of precocial offspring (“hatchlings”) that are virtually defenseless. Many are consumed by predators. Hatchlings improve their survival prospects by migrating to offshore “nursery” areas with lower predator densities and, as they grow, by developing morphological defenses. The flatback turtle (Natator depressus), how...
Article
Species' response to climate change is already occurring and managers require scenario planning with tangible actions for effective conservation. We address this need by examining the impact of projected changes in maximum temperature and sea level rise (SLR), on the future suitability of current nesting sites for two globally endangered turtle spe...
Article
Full-text available
Context. Following centuries of intense human exploitation, the global stocks of hawksbill turtle have decreased precipitously and the species is currently considered Critically Endangered by the IUCN. Australia supports the largest breeding aggregations worldwide; however, there are no accurate estimates of population abundance and seasonality for...
Article
Full-text available
Climate-driven changes are altering production and functioning of biotic assemblages in terrestrial and aquatic environments. In temperate coastal waters, rising sea temperatures, warm water anomalies and poleward shifts in the distribution of tropical herbivores have had a detrimental effect on algal forests. We develop generalized scenarios of th...
Data
Supplementary methods is a separate file which contains details on the pilot study work and supplementary figures related to the manuscript.
Article
Full-text available
We examined the effect of artificial light on the near shore trajectories of turtle hatchlings dispersing from natal beaches. Green turtle (Chelonia mydas) hatchlings were tagged with miniature acoustic transmitters and their movements tracked within an underwater array of 36 acoustic receivers placed in the near shore zone. A total of 40 hatchling...
Article
Full-text available
The capacity of species to respond adaptively to warming temperatures will be key to their survival in the Anthropocene. The embryos of egg-laying species such as sea turtles have limited behavioural means for avoiding high nest temperatures, and responses at the physiological level may be critical to coping with predicted global temperature increa...
Article
Full-text available
Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) populations have experienced global decline because of a history of intense commercial exploitation for shell and stuffed taxidermied whole animals, and harvest for eggs and meat. Improved understanding of genetic diversity and phylogeography is needed to aid conservation. In this study, we analyzed the mos...
Technical Report
Full-text available
http://www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/images/conservation-management/marine/20150211_proceedingswa_turtlesymposium14_finweb_2.pdf
Article
Full-text available
Prioritisation of natural assets for monitoring and research activities facilitates equitable allocation of finite conservation resources. We present a framework that identifies broad monitoring and research priorities for conservation areas, such as marine parks, and threatened species. Criteria within the framework are used to assess: the value (...
Article
Full-text available
Despite being critically endangered, the at-sea behaviour of hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) remains insufficiently understood to support a global conservation strategy. Habitat location and spatial use are poorly documented, which is particularly true for the globally important Australian hawksbill population. We equipped 10 adult femal...
Article
Full-text available
The Cocos (Keeling) Islands support high density resident green and hawksbill turtles and low to moderate density nesting green turtles. Dedicated studies were conducted on resident foraging turtles of the southern atoll between 1999 and 2012 and opportunistic observations were conducted on nesting turtles on both atolls between 1999 and 2009. In-w...
Article
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Female sea turtles are promiscuous, with clutches of eggs often sired by multiple males and rates of multiple paternity varying greatly within and across species. We investigated levels of multiple paternity in loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) from three rookeries in Western Australia by analysing polymorphic species-specific genetic marker...
Article
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We document and describe the change in attitudes, hunting behaviour and historic subsistence use of sea turtles by Cocos Malay people of Islamic faith in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Indian Ocean over the last 180 years. We used several lines of evidence including historical documents, scientific journals, archived records and interviews with curre...
Article
Full-text available
The survival and viability of sea turtle embryos is dependent upon favourable nest temperatures throughout the incubation period. Consequently, future generations of sea turtles may be at risk from increasing nest temperatures due to climate change, but little is known about how embryos respond to heat stress. Heat shock genes are likely to be impo...
Article
Full-text available
Quantifying primary sex ratios is essential for assessing how global warming will influence the population dynamics of species with temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD). Process-explicit (mechanistic) models can accurately estimate primary sex ratios but require the resolution of the key physiological parameters that influence sex determin...
Article
Full-text available
Biodiversity assessments by research scientists are often logistically difficult and expensive to implement in remote areas. Locally-based approaches have the potential to overcome some of these challenges by capitalising on the knowledge and capacity of local people. Many Indigenous people in northern Australia are custodians of coastal areas that...
Article
Full-text available
In recent years, the use of blood chemistry as a diagnostic tool for sea turtles has been demonstrated, but much of its effectiveness relies on reference intervals. The first comprehensive blood chemistry values for healthy wild hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) sea turtles are presented. Nineteen blood chemistry analytes and packed cell volume we...
Article
Full-text available
Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands represent a unique marine biodiversity hotspot because of the overlap between two major biogeographic provinces (Indian and Pacific Ocean) and the high proportion of endemic species. In this paper, we compile existing scientific literature pertaining to marine organisms and environments at these isla...
Article
Full-text available
ABSTRACT: In Australia, the olive ridley sea turtle Lepidochelys olivacea has received little research attention and monitoring. The Australian populations are relatively small and their distribution is limited to remote areas in the northern part of the country. Previous global genetic studies of olive ridley populations showed that the Australian...
Article
Full-text available
Accurately quantifying animals' spatial utilisation is critical for conservation, but has long remained an elusive goal due to technological impediments. The Argos telemetry system has been extensively used to remotely track marine animals, however location estimates are characterised by substantial spatial error. State-space models (SSM) constitut...
Data
Summary of transmitter performances. (DOCX)
Article
This paper describes predation tactics used by the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) on flatback (Natator depressus) and olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) sea turtles on nesting beaches in northern Australia. For adult turtles, crocodiles used both a sit-and-wait tactic in which they attacked a turtle at the water's edge after it complete...
Article
Observations of two specialised feeding behaviours (strand-feeding and repetitive tail-slapping) by the Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin Sousa chinensis during one feeding event in northern Australia are reported for the first time. These observations provide insights into the type of foraging habitats and niches of this shy coast dwelling species. Th...