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Coastal development at sea turtles nesting ground: Efforts to establish a tool for supporting conservation and coastal management in northeastern Brazil

  • Universidade Federal da Bahia - UFBA, Salvador, Brasil
Coastal development at sea turtles nesting ground: Efforts to establish
a tool for supporting conservation and coastal management in
northeastern Brazil
Gustave G. Lopez
, Eduardo de C. Sali
, Paulo H. Lara
, Frederico Tognin
Maria A. Marcovaldi
, Thiago Z. Serani
ao Pr
o-TAMAR, Rua Rubens Guelli, 134 SL 307, Salvador, Bahia, CEP 41815-135, Brazil
Departamento de Ci^
encias do Mar, Universidade Federal de S~
ao Paulo eDCMar/UNIFESP, 11030-400, Santos, SP, Brazil
article info
Article history:
Received 24 October 2014
Received in revised form
27 July 2015
Accepted 30 July 2015
Available online xxx
Coastal development
Sea turtles
GIS map
While tropical and subtropical coastal areas are considered prime areas for a wide range of tourism
projects, they also host important sea turtle nesting grounds. Preserving these nesting areas is critical to
ensure reproductive success and maintain viable sea turtle populations. The northern coast of the State of
Bahia, in northeastern Brazil, is an important sea turtle nesting ground. Sea turtle conservation activities
in Brazil began in 1980, focusing initially on reducing harvesting of nesting females and egg collection.
Recently, new threats resulting from unplanned coastal development have emerged. In this paper, a
geospatial tool, as an initiative of the Brazilian National Sea Turtle Conservation Program (TAMAR) to
identify key areas for sea turtle nesting along the coast northern coast of Bahia, is presented. A Sensitivity
Map was created, using a detailed GIS map graded by colors representing relevance levels of the coast for
sea turtle nesting. From this map, recommendations of management practices that correspond to each
sensitivity category can be made. This methodology allows for the identication of critical sea turtle
habitats and the subsequent implementation of mitigation measures at nesting beaches, as well support
coastal management policies.
©2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
Coastal development has been taking over tropical coastal and
adjacent sea turtle nesting beaches. If poorly managed such
development can damage the natural environment, especially
without environmental planning legislation and adequate imple-
mentation (Hall, 2001; Orams, 2003; Lee, 2010; El Mrini et al.,
2012). In Brazil, the northern coast of Bahia is an important nest-
ing ground, primarily for loggerheads (Caretta caretta), olive ridleys
(Lepidochelys olivacea) and hawksbills (Eretmochelys imbricata), and
to a lesser extent for green turtles (Chelonia mydas). Sea turtle
conservation initiatives in Brazil began in 1980, with the creation of
Projeto TAMAR (Brazilian National Sea Turtle Conservation
Program) (Marcovaldi and Marcovaldi, 1999).
Until 1950, the northern coast of Bahia was considered a poorly
developed and sparsely populated agricultural region. In the early
1970s, a phase of Petrochemical industrial development took place
in the municipalities neighboring Salvador. In the 1990s a state
highway was completed connecting Salvador to the northern area
through the coastline, allowing for the expansion of tourism and
urban development. At this time, the Brazilian Government
launched a tourism development program in Northeast Brazil
named PRODETUR/NE (Programa de Desenvolvimento do Turismo no
Nordeste), in order to boost the tourism industry in this region.
Since then, large public and private investments have been made,
mainly for the provision of basic infrastructure and support for
tourism development (Lyrio, 2003; Silva et al., 2008). Currently, the
coastline is characterized by a highly consolidated urban area in
Salvador that decreases toward north.
At the start of TAMAR's activities in the 1980s, the main threats
for the sea turtles were the direct harvesting of eggs and nesting
females on the beach. Egg poaching was widespread all along the
*Corresponding author. Rua Rubens Guelli, 134 SL 307, Salvador, Bahia, CEP
41815-135, Brazil.
E-mail addresses: (G.G. Lopez),
(E.C. Sali
es), (P.H. Lara), (F. Tognin), (M.A. Marcovaldi), (T.Z. Serani).
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
Ocean & Coastal Management
journal homepage:
0964-5691/©2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Ocean & Coastal Management 116 (2015) 270e276
coast, often approaching 100% of all eggs laid. However, poaching
was primarily for local subsistence as no formal markets for turtle
products existed (Marcovaldi and Marcovaldi, 1999). After decades
of conservation efforts, which included the involvement and
participation of local communities as well as other stakeholders,
the number of eggs laid by loggerhead (Marcovaldi and Chaloupka,
2007), hawksbill (Marcovaldi et al., 2007), olive ridley (Silva et al.,
2007), and leatherback turtles (Thom
e et al., 2007) gradually
Unfortunately, while the threat of egg poaching and harvesting
of nesting females was being reduced, over the last two decades
new threats have become increasingly evident. Intensive develop-
ment in the coastal zones not only places sea turtle populations at
risk (i.e. articial lighting, shoreline armoring, beach driving) but
also degrades the ecosystems (i.e. pollution, erosion, overshing).
In the northern coast of Bahia, most of the environmental degra-
dation and habitat loss are due to urban development, where
several resort projects and super-sized condominiums are imple-
mented every year (Lyrio, 2003; Silva et al., 2008). An evaluation on
the recreational quality and the carrying capacity of beaches on
northern Bahia revealed that many beaches currently undergoing
development have problems of carrying capacity as well as
important environmental constraints (Silva et al., 2012).
This new regional development poses challenges to sea turtle
conservation, requiring the creation of an appropriate institutional
framework for coastal management to mitigate the potential
negative impacts to these animals. The aim of this study is to pre-
sent a Sensitivity Map Guide and some preliminary results of its
application, as an initiative to create a supportive tool for coastal
management and conservation in Bahia northern coast, focusing on
sea turtle nest protection. It includes a detailed GIS map graded by
colors representing relevance levels of the coast for sea turtle
nesting, and recommendations of management practices that
correspond to each sensitivity category. It has the potential to be
applicable to other sea turtle nesting areas under intense devel-
opment pressure.
2. The methodological approach of the Sensitivity Map Guide
for sea turtle nesting ground conservation
The Sensitivity Map Guide and best practical measures for
safeguarding sea turtle nesting grounds in Bahia were developed
according to the TAMAR's standard sea turtle conservation prac-
tices. This includes daily and night beach patrols to locate nests, in
situ nest monitoring, and relocation of at risk nests to other beaches
and/or open-air hatcheries, as well as community outreach and
education within the coastal villages (Marcovaldi and Marcovaldi,
1999). The Guide was based on Environmental Sensitivity Index
(ESI) mapping for oil spill contingency planning and response (e.g.
Jensen et al., 1998). We used Geographic Information System eGIS
tools to rate sea turtle nesting beaches with different levels of
The northern Bahia coastline was divided into 214 km (covering
34 beaches). According to TAMAR's eldwork routines (for details
see Marcovaldi and Marcovaldi, 1999) the kilometer of each sea
turtle nesting activity, and its biological information, is registered in
a database. Three relevance levels were created, based on the
number of nests per kilometer (nest density), using the data from
the last ve nesting seasons (from 2007/2008 to 2011/2012), as
follows: level one (low relevance ¼0e20 nests/km); level two
(medium relevance ¼21e60 nests/km) and level three (high
relevance 60 nests/km). The criterion used for determining the
number of classes and the nest densities for each one of them was
based on TAMAR's expertise and the relative abundance of sea
turtle nests on the northern coast of Bahia.
Along with the Guide, recommendations for sea turtle conser-
vation were made according to each level, so that sections with
higher relevance levels would require the greater protection
3. Results and discussion
High relevance areas comprise nearly 43% of the nests laid on
the northern coast of Bahia, and represent only 14% of the coastline
length (Table 1). It was possible to protect areas of high nest den-
sities without necessarily classifying the entire coast as a high
relevance area. The use of GIS mapping provides visual display of
data that can be easily accessed to identify the relevance level of a
specic location along the coast, thus, facilitating its use by coastal
management stakeholders (Fig. 1).
This methodology is an especially useful tool given that sea
turtles exhibit nesting site delity resulting in consistent nest
density from season to season (Marcovaldi et al., 2010; Matos et al.,
2012). However, an ongoing review of each subsequent nesting
season is critical to eventually adjust the level of importance of each
costal segment.
For each level of relevance, recommendations for sea turtle
nesting ground conservation were established. All the recommen-
dations were based on internationally recognized best practices for
safeguarding sea turtle nesting grounds (e.g. Eckert et al., 1999;
Witherington and Martin, 2000). They include standard guide-
lines for coastal lighting, beach use, building setbacks, and others,
some of them supported by sea turtles specic protection regula-
tion (Table 2). The recommendations presented here focus mainly
on the negative effects of light-pollution and increased human use
of nesting beaches, since coastal development did not aggravate the
old threats (e.g. egg poaching), but it has triggered new problems.
Light pollution, which can be dened as the introduction of
articially produced light into pristine areas, is considered one of
the greatest threats to nesting females and to hatchling survival.
Hatchlings typically emerge from the nests at night and use visual
cues to nd the ocean. As such, articial lights can disrupt hatchling
sea-nding behavior, making them more susceptible to mortality
associated with exhaustion, dehydration, predation, among others,
and can also disorient nesting females (Witherington and Martin,
Along the northern Bahia coast, disruption of hatchling orien-
tation due to articial lighting is becoming much more frequent,
especially in more densely populated areas (Serani et al., 2010).
Since the 1990s, federal and state laws prohibit any articial
lighting on sea turtle nesting beaches on northern Bahia. Recom-
mendations to prevent light-pollution seek to ensure compliance
with legislation, and also to use global best practices to minimize
the light-pollution impacts on sea turtle nesting grounds.
The building's distance, height and occupancy level near nesting
beaches, as well as the quantity of users and the nature of beach
activities has a direct impact on the sea turtle nesting grounds. For
these reasons, measures such as construction setbacks, turtle
friendlylighting and construction regulations (e.g. building size
and occupancy limit) can help reduce the threats generated by
coastal development. Setback regulations must be implemented
not only to address light pollution and habitat alteration, but also to
prevent expected impacts as a result of rising sea levels (Fish et al.,
2008; Mazaris et al., 2009).
The federal and state environmental legislation in Bahia pro-
vides setback regulations (50 m from the beach) that may be
appropriate for most sea turtle nesting areas (low relevance).
However, in areas of greatest relevance (medium and high rele-
vance) the setback regulation may be more restrictive, considering
the importance of these areas as sea turtle nesting grounds.
G.G. Lopez et al. / Ocean & Coastal Management 116 (2015) 270e276 271
Additionally, building features (e.g. number of oors and occupancy
limit) are determined by specic regulations, such as the environ-
mental licensing legislation or coastal zone management tools (e.g.
ecological-economic zoning). By regulating building features, it is
possible to minimize disturbances on nesting beaches.
Due to the intense development of the mass tourism industry
Table 1
Relevance levels and its correlation with nest density classes on northern Bahia.
Relevance level Signicance Nest density classes Number of nests
Number of
1 Low 1 to 20 1,020 15 95 44
2 Medium 21 to 60 2,924 42 90 42
3 High Up to 60 2,969 43 29 14
Based on the average of the last ve nesting seasons (2007/2008 to 2011/2012) (TAMAR, database).
Fig. 1. A GIS map of Bahia, Brazil, with areas of coastline graded by colors, representing the amount of sea turtle nests per kilometer (levels of relevance). Land use strategies that
correspond to each level were developed to help protect sea turtles in the area.
G.G. Lopez et al. / Ocean & Coastal Management 116 (2015) 270e276272
along the northern coast of Bahia in recent decades, hundreds of
thousands of visitors are attracted to the beach for recreational use.
Major tourist destinations in the area include the beaches adjacent
to Salvador and some urban-villages along the coastline, as well as
sandy beaches in front of large tourist developments. Unfortu-
nately, this results in the common removal of beach vegetation for
leisure purposes, which disrupts nest site selection by sea turtle
females and subsequent egg incubation (Serani et al., 2009).
Intensive beach use could also potentially reduce hatchling success
from trampling, due to the effect of sand hardness (Kudo et al.,
2003). The introduction of beach furniture (e.g. beach chairs and
umbrellas) and recreational equipment (e.g. sailboats), especially if
they remain on the beach at night, may harm, disturb and entrap
nesting sea turtles and hatchlings, as well as compact the surface of
the sand, killing the eggs within the nests.
Controlling human access to nesting areas and recreational
beach use becomes crucial, especially in areas of high relevance.
With the exception of specic legislation prohibiting vehicle trafc
on beaches, many of the coastal recreational activities are not
regulated by any laws or management tools, requiring cooperation
among users and other stakeholders to minimize the impacts on
sea turtles and their nesting beaches.
3.1. Using the guide to promote conservation of Bahia's sea turtle
nesting beaches
One of the immediate applications of the Guide has been the
environmental licensing process of major tourism projects. In
Brazil, large developments located in areas of high environmental
signicance, require the preparation of an Environmental Impact
Assessment (EIA). When these developments are also located on
sea turtle nesting beaches, Brazilian law stipulates that the
licensing process can only become effective after evaluation and
recommendation of the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and
Natural Resources (IBAMA) and after hearing the Brazilian National
Sea Turtle Conservation Program eCentro TAMAR (National Envi-
ronmental Council eCONAMA Resolution n
10 from October 24,
1996) recommendations. The EIA is required to provide detailed
information about the proposal, the potential environmental im-
pacts (taking into account the presence of endangered species, such
as sea turtles) and the practical measures to mitigate negative
The Guide has been used to provide a basis for entrepreneurs
when preparing their projects and what measures are needed to
mitigate the potential impacts on beaches and sea turtles. For
example, between 2007 and 2009 on Guarajuba beach, a medium-
sized beach front hotel (about 1000 guests) was established in a sea
turtle nesting area of high relevance (Fig. 2). During the environ-
mental licensing process, the project was designed to allow for the
operation of the hotel in accordance with the recommendations to
protect sea turtle nesting areas. As a result, the beach in front of the
hotel provides suitable conditions for the maintenance of nests in
situ, especially with regard to the incidence of light on the beach. All
light sources have been designed so that the effect of direct and
indirect lighting of the project was minimized (Fig. 3).
The Guide has also been used to conduct efforts of TAMAR to
deal with threatens. For example, beaches shown in Fig. 2,were
mainly pristine in the until the 1990's. Limited beach use bytourists
and local residents permitted the preservation of sea turtle nests in
situ. However, by the early 2000s, the occupancy of the entire
length of the coast (16 km) by second residence condominiums and
hotels increased, resulting in signicant light-pollution and heavy
beach use. This forced TAMAR to relocate clutches to a beach
hatchery or more suitable nest sites. For instance, on Itacimirim
beach all clutches were transferred to the Praia do Forte's beach
hatchery up until the 2009/2010 nesting season (n¼105, 100%).
However, after implementing appropriate management practices
based on the recommendations of the Guide, during subsequent
nesting seasons (2010/2011 and 2011/2012), half of the clutches
(n ¼146, 62% and n ¼76, 51%, respectively) were able to be left in
situ due to improved habitat conditions (TAMAR, database).
This example illustrate that by implementing the recommen-
dations of the Guide with beach front developments, it is possible
to encourage habitat recovery enough so that turtle nests can
remain in situ. Priority recommendations were based on reducing
the amount of light that reaches the nesting beaches. Night-time
inspections were conducted in order to identify light sources
observable from the beach. Hotel, condominium and resort projects
were encouraged to incorporate sea turtle friendly lightinginto
their buildings (Fig. 4). Environmental education campaigns were
also carried out in order to raise public awareness of the impact of
light pollution on sea turtles.
In addition to the immediate application of the environmental
licensing processes in the improvement of existing urban infra-
structure, the Guide was initially used as a tool for coastal man-
agement and conservation policies. One of the current uses is to
establish priority zones for environment conservation in the state
of Bahia. This is part of the Brazilian effort to achieve international
conservation goals dened by The Convention on Biological Di-
versity. This initiative has been coordinated by the World Wide
Fund for Nature (WWF), in order to plan a map of priority zones in
Bahia. The areas mapped in the Guide were integrated in the
methodology (based on the Software MARXAN for spatial conser-
vation prioritization eBall et al., 2009) to create a map of priority
Table 2
Recommendations for safeguarding sea turtle nesting beaches, taking into account their level of relevance.
Features Relevance levels
Low (level 1) Medium (level 2) High (level 3)
Construction setbacks 60 m 120 m 180 m
Floors or levels of buildings eFront buildings with a single oor All buildings with a single oor
Occupancy density High Medium Low
Beachfront lighting Low and indirect lighting behind the
nesting beach
Indirect lighting and control of light
Fully shielded indirect lighting
Beach access eRestricted access Very restricted access or no access at all
Beach use No habitat changes No habitat changes No habitat changes
Beach furniture and recreational
Place beach furniture and recreational
equipment at a minimum distance
from the sea turtle nests
Avoid non-permanent structures (e.g.
beach umbrella) on nesting beaches
and remove at night
Restrict non-permanent structures (e.g. beach
umbrella) on nesting beaches and remove furniture
and recreational equipment at night
Beach use at night eAvoid walking on the beach at night
during sea turtle nesting season
Do not walk on the beach at night during sea turtle
nesting season
G.G. Lopez et al. / Ocean & Coastal Management 116 (2015) 270e276 273
zones for biodiversity conservation. The areas mapped in the Guide
and identied as a high level of relevance for sea turtle nesting
were designated as targets for conservation efforts.
Other current uses has been to support the management of a
Protected Area in the Bahia northern coast. In the late 1990s and
early 2000s the government of Bahia created six Protected Areas for
sustainable use called Environmental Protected Areas (APA e
de Proteç~
ao Ambiental)(Fig. 1)(Oliveira, 2002). The APA Litoral
Norte is the largest (142,000 ha), and since 2014, Bahia's govern-
ment is revising its ten year old Management Plan. The levels of
relevance mapped in the Guide serves as a base to determine po-
tential uses of the coast, in order to ensure the protection of sea
turtle relevant nesting areas inside the APA area.
4. Conclusions
The Sensitivity Map Guide presented here for sea turtle nesting
ground conservation could potentially improve: (i) the quality of
the development projects implemented in Bahia northern coast
regarding sea turtle nesting protection, especially in the EIA pro-
cess; (ii) guide entrepreneurs in the selection of areas for tourism
projects, avoiding areas of high relevance for sea turtle nesting; (ii)
guide the effort of TAMAR's conservation activities in the areas of
high level of relevance for sea turtle nesting; and (iii) create a tool
Fig. 2. The map shows a coastline segment of northern Bahia, northeastern Brazil, which is one of the largest nesting areas in Brazil, but also is considered a popular destination for
G.G. Lopez et al. / Ocean & Coastal Management 116 (2015) 270e276274
to support decision-making on coastal planning and conservation,
as management plans of Protected Areas, and efforts to establishing
proprietary zones for biodiversity conservation.
The potential use of the Guide for coastal management on the
northern coast of Bahia depends on political efforts in order to
encourage proper use by local stakeholders through the support of
public policies for integrated coastal management. Nevertheless,
this initiative represents an important effort for sea turtle and
coastal conservation in Brazil, and could be used as a tool in other
tropical coastal zones under high coastal development pressures.
Its integration with public policies for coastal management could
improve not just sea turtle conservation, but also the coastal
stewardship through the denition of sensitive areas for coastal
Fig. 3. Development of a light-pollution mitigation strategy in a medium scale hotel on northern Bahia.
Fig. 4. Public sidewalk along a sea turtle nesting beach on northern Bahia, before (left) and after (right) lighting inspections and corrective measures.
G.G. Lopez et al. / Ocean & Coastal Management 116 (2015) 270e276 275
We thank all the TAMAR staff for generously helping us in this
study. We are also grateful to Daphne Wrobel and Ashley Byun
McKay for providing constructive comments that improved the
quality of the manuscript, and to Coordenaç~
ao de Aperfeiçoamento
de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES/Ci^
encias do Mar, Postdoctoral
Fellowship to TZS). Projeto TAMAR, a conservation program of the
Brazilian Ministry of the Environment, is afliated with ICMBio, co-
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G.G. Lopez et al. / Ocean & Coastal Management 116 (2015) 270e276276
... We also monitored light pollution, defined as the introduction of artificially produced light into nesting areas, and signs of human presence (e.g. vehicle traffic, plastic residue found on the beach) according to Lopez et al. (2015) and Fernandes et al. (2016). ...
... Sea turtles, their nests, and their offspring are often exposed to different threats, such as urban development on the coast (Kamrowski et al. 2014, Lopez et al. 2015, pollution, (Farias et al. 2019, Soares et al. 2020, climate change , Reneker & Kamel 2016, and interaction with fishing (Castilhos et al. 2011, Guebert et al. 2013. Theft of eggs is an old threat and it still occurs today, as observed in our study site. ...
... The coastal development did not aggravate the old threats (e.g. egg poaching), but it has triggered new problems (Lopez et al. 2015). Currently, light pollution is one of the greatest threats to the survival of sea turtle hatchlings, especially in more densely populated areas. ...
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This study monitored marine turtle nests in a region known as the Potiguar Basin, which stretches from the northern region of Rio Grande do Norte State (5°4’1.15” S, 36°4’36.41” W) to eastern Ceará State (4°38’48.28” S, 37°32’52.08” W) in Brazil. We collected data from January 2011 to December 2019 to identify species of sea turtles that spawn in the basin, to analyze the nesting spatial-temporal pattern and nests characteristics, and to record effects of environmental and anthropic factors on nests. A field team examined sea turtle tracks and nests signs. Turtle clutches were monitored daily until hatchings emerged from the nests. We monitored nests of hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata; n = 238) and olive Ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea; n = 103). The nesting season for E. imbricata occurred between December and May and for L. olivacea from March to August. Hawksbills had clutch size, incubation time, number of unhatched eggs, and dead hatchlings higher than olive Ridley turtles; nevertheless, they presented lower hatching success. Precipitation between 0 and 22 mm and relative humidity (RH) higher than 69% increased the hatching success rate for E. imbricata; however, rainfall above 11 mm and RH 64% had the same effect for L. olivacea. Signs of egg theft and human presence (e.g. vehicle traffic and plastic residues on the beach) were recorded and are considered threats to nests. The results of our long-term monitoring study in the Potiguar Basin provide basis for the implementation of mitigation measures and adoption of management policies at nesting beaches in this Brazilian region.
... Destruction of nesting habitats is a major threat for these species that exhibit nesting site fidelity (Mazaris et al., 2009). Although egg and meat poaching has decreased in some parts of the world due to increased conservation efforts, coastal development and associated infrastructure, as well as coastal armouring, are contributing to shrink the turtle nesting habitats (Lopez et al., 2015;Fuentes et al., 2016). ...
... Coastal armouring has been known to disturb the nesting habitats of marine turtles (Choi & Eckert, 2009;Witherton et al., 2011;Lopez et al., 2015). The only coastal armour found within the study area was ...
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This study assessed marine turtle nesting habitats along the southeastern coastline of Sri Lanka, with the specific objectives of (i) reporting the quality of turtle nesting habitats, turtle nesting abundance, and threats to nesting turtles; (ii) comparing the current results with the results of a study conducted in 2004 and (iii) recommending conservation actions. The current study was carried out from August 2017 to May 2018 to assess the three parameters given in objective (i) above, along a 133 km coastal belt in 531 transects of 250 m each. Direct visual observations were supplemented with data collected from local people and validated using habitat suitability modelling using MaxEnt software. The study demarcated seven turtle nesting hotspots and recommends priority areas for nine turtle conservation activities. Those include the declaration of the Palatupana beach that connects the existing Nimalawa Sanctuary and Yala National Park including its shallow sea as a sanctuary. Its management is recommended through public-private partnerships ensuring healthy nesting turtle populations and their monitoring, while promoting turtle-based tourism under strict guidelines. Factors contributing adversely for nesting turtles such as coastal constructions and clearance of beach vegetation should be considered in management actions for the conservation of these globally threatened reptiles. The need for future research is also identified.
... The kernel density estimation (KDE) enabled us to recognize the areas with the highest number of nests in 8 seasons and subsequently determine the environmental conditions that can affect nesting patterns in these areas. Understanding the environmental characteristics of nesting sites selected by female turtles is essential for the conservation of these sites (Willians-Walls et al., 1983;Mortimer and Bresson, 1999;Ferreira Junior, 2009) and for the planning of coastal monitoring of the turtle populations that use these sites for nesting (Rusenko et al., 2005;Lopez et al., 2015;Turkozan et al., 2011;Kando et al., 2017). ...
... The characteristics that most affected the occurrence of turtle nesting were anthropization and slope of the beach. Human activities, such as tourism and settlement, can reduce the number of nests and affect successful development (Arianoutsou, 1988;Salmon et al., 1995;Antworth et al., 2006;Botha, 2010;Lima et al., 2012;Roe et al., 2013;Lopez et al., 2015;Gall and Thompson, 2015;NG et al., 2016;Fernandes et al., 2016;Azanza-ricardo et al., 2017). Furthermore, very flat beaches influence lower nesting density (Zare et al., 2012). ...
Understanding the environmental and anthropogenic factors that affect nesting site selection by sea turtles is key to maintaining priority conservation areas. The species Lepidochelys olivacea, Caretta caretta, and Eretmochelys imbricata nest annually on the island of Comandatuba (Una, northeastern Brazil), where this survey was conducted. We evaluated the temporal and spatial distribution of nests during the seasons 2008/2009 to 2014/2015 and 2017/2018. In the last season, we further examined the environmental and anthropogenic factors that influence different nesting performances. We selected six sample areas with different nesting events (high, medium, and low), and recorded the following characteristics: beach slope, sediment grain size, vegetation richness, type of dune, anthropization, and final nest condition. A significant occurrence of nesting was observed in November and December . The spatial distribution of the nests varied over the seasons, with a greater tendency to nest in the south of the island. Higher frequency of anthropization and low slope of the beach were significant factors for areas with a smaller number of nests. Predation of turtle nests may be associated with areas of greater anthropization. Our findings have implications for the conservation and monitoring of nesting sites during reproduction seasons and provide further insight into the nesting dynamics of marginal sea turtle populations.
... Unfortunately, 94% of Florida's sea turtle nesting beaches are exposed to cumulative coastal modifications, and the number of permitted alterations continues to grow (Nelson . Previous studies have evaluated the impacts of various facets of coastal development on sea turtles, including beach nourishment, artificial lighting, and armoring structures (Grain et al., 1995;Salmon et al., 1995;Butler, 1998;Brock et al., 2009;Lopez et al., 2015;Hirsch et al., 2019). In a survey of sea turtle experts across four continents, it was found that beach armoring was perceived as the largest threat to sea turtle nesting beaches in terms of coastal development, which ranked higher than artificial lighting, special events, beach cleaning, and beach sand placement activities . ...
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In the face of modern challenges, analyzing sea turtle nesting trends is critical to better understand impacts to these vulnerable species. The introduction of hard-armoring structures (e.g., seawalls, rock revetments) on sea turtle nesting beaches poses a threat to nesting leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), loggerhead (Caretta caretta), and green (Chelonia mydas) sea turtles due to habitat loss and turtle interactions with the physical structure. Despite much of Florida's coastline being protected by some form of hard-armoring technology, research on the impacts of these structures to sea turtles is limited to loggerheads. Our objectives were to (1) examine nest density, nesting success, washout rates, and hatching and emergence success at hard-armoring sites in comparison to a control area and (2) characterize impacts of obstructions encountered by sea turtles nesting in northern Palm Beach County, Florida. Our results indicate that the hard-armoring site showed significantly lower nest density for green turtles and nesting success for loggerheads and green turtles in comparison to a control area. Additionally, nesting success for loggerheads and green turtles that encountered hard-armoring structures was significantly lower in comparison to those that encountered no obstructions or other obstructions (e.g., beach furniture, walkovers, escarpments, etc.). These results suggest that hard-armoring structures negatively impact sea turtle nesting behavior, which could result in loss of energy or other physiological derangements. Green turtles showed the most significant differences between the two sites, likely a result of their typical nest site selection favoring the upper portions of the beach, crawling further distances from the high-water line than loggerheads or leatherbacks. Before additional hard-armoring structures are permitted and installed, governing agencies should first consider more natural methods of protecting shorelines (e.g., dune restoration).
... Given the TSD of sea turtles, such a change in temperature is predicted to have profound effects on primary sex ratios, leading to the feminization of sea turtle populations (Glen and Mrosovsky, 2004;Hawkes et al., 2009;Jensen et al., 2018;Monsinjon et al., 2019). On the other hand, hatchlings returning to their natal beaches to nest for the first time may not even find these beaches anymore, due to massive constructions (e.g., for tourism, urbanisation, ports, and industry), that in turn may lead to erosion of these beaches (Lopez et al., 2015). ...
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Global warming is affecting habitat quality and availability on our planet and some species are predicted or are by now changing their distribution range. Here we show that loggerhead turtles have already started to expand their nesting range into the Western Mediterranean, which has until recently hosted only sporadic nests. We compiled information on nesting activity from beaches surrounding the Western Mediterranean and collected metadata on loggerhead turtle nests in Spain, France, Italy, and Tunisia between 2010 and 2020 to provide an exhaustive overview on the phenomenon of emerging new nest sites for loggerhead turtles. The number of recorded nests has increased drastically since 2013 from 1 to 3 nests/year to a record number of 84 registered in 2020. While this increase may partly be explained by grown awareness and reporting by citizens, there is no doubt of an upward trend in nesting activity. The nests are unevenly distributed over the study area with most nests occurring on the coasts of the warmer Tyrrhenian Sea. A hotspot analysis identified beaches in SW Italy, SE Sardinia, and NW Tunisia with statistically significant clustering of nests. Within these hotspots, three beaches in SW Italy and one in Tunisia had nests at least four out of the five last years. Nesting phenology corresponds to that of Eastern Mediterranean rookeries, and mean hatching success of naturally incubating, non-manipulated nests was 66 %, although there was variability across the region. Mean incubation durations also varied between countries indicating a diversity in inferred sex ratios, with sufficient female production to foster future colonisation of this region. Unfortunately, these beaches are already under high tourist pressure and subject to intense coastal development, imposing many threats to the females, eggs, and hatchlings. Thus, while this study reveals the unique opportunity to witness and study an ongoing new colonisation process in loggerhead turtles, it also calls for urgent proactive conservation actions to mitigate these threats and allow the turtles to establish new rookeries.
... KRC will be able to spearhead critical activities related to leatherback turtle conservation and data collection (such as yearly turtle and nest census, running training, educational, and awareness programs for local communities on various aspects related to the safeguarding of leatherback turtles, their nesting habitats and disseminating knowledge of potential threats). Various conservation plans around the globe use the majority of their funds for the collection of new information which is vital for conservation action, research and monitoring purposes [26,28]. Consequently, KRC will become paramount in this regard. ...
Conference Paper
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The critically endangered West Pacific Ocean subpopulation of the leatherback turtles has faced a significant population decline in the past decades. One of the reasons for this is the loss of nesting habitats in the region. In this pilot study, turtle nesting habitats are remotely monitored employing satellite imageries. This methodology has been used to investigate the extent of habitat loss in the Kamiali wildlife management area along the Huon coast in Papua New Guinea which serves as a major hotspot for the leatherback turtles. Moreover, the conservation of this turtle species is increasingly at risk due to the intensification of community-level conflicts and paucity of donors; data collection endeavors along the Huon coast have been halted since 2014. Using Landsat 8 satellite images for the period 2013 to 2019, a 22.44 % (0.179 km2) decrease in sandy beach areas is noticable, resulting primarily from shrubs-mixed vegetation expansion and coastal squeeze following erosion. The research results highlight the urgency to revamp turtle conservation and data collection initiatives and emphasize the key role remote sensing can play in turtle habitat monitoring, particularly in areas experiencing a conflict of conservational interests. Based on the observations, the study propose four urgent technology-oriented measures - (i) revamping data collection strategies, (ii) developing turtle nesting sensitivity maps, (iii) surveying nesting habitats using drones, and (iv) investigating the influence of logging activities - to enhance leatherback turtle conservation efforts in the Kamiali region, that are expected to have wider applications across the globe especially in the West Pacific and to other sea turtle species.
... Stability of nesting aggregations also relies on survival of sea turtles away from the nesting beach. Over the past decades, anthropogenic threats, such as marine pollution (Santos et al. 2015;Rizzi et al. 2019) and bycatch in fisheries (Gallo et al. 2006;Lopez et al. 2015;Monteiro et al. 2016), have had increasing impacts on sea turtle survival on their foraging grounds. Therefore, monitoring foraging aggregations is also necessary to assess stability of reproductive aggregations. ...
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Trindade Island, Brazil, is a small, remote volcanic island located 1140 km off the coast of southeastern Brazil. The green turtle (Chelonia mydas) nesting aggregation on Trindade is genetically distinct, the largest in the southwest Atlantic, and represents the southern limit of green turtle nesting in the Atlantic. Projeto TAMAR (a Brazilian conservation program) has monitored the nesting aggregation discontinuously since 1982. In 2009, a standardized protocol was established for the two beaches (Andradas and Tartarugas) with the highest nest abundance. Data from December 2009 through April 2017 (except 2013) were used in this study. Annual numbers of tracks left by females that emerged onto the beach vary between 558 and 3317 tracks for Andradas and between 760 and 3559 tracks for Tartarugas. Mean nesting probabilities (probability that an emerging female deposits eggs) for all years were 0.22 (95% HDI (highest posterior density interval) = 0.14–0.30) for Andradas and 0.45 (95% HDI = 0.37–0.53) for Tartarugas. Nesting probabilities varied among and within years and had a negative relationship with daily track counts. During our study, annual estimates of nests were stable on both Andradas (range 38–2001) and Tartarugas (range 248–2769). Nest abundance estimates between 1991 and 2008 from an earlier study indicated a stable population, extending the duration of apparent stability to 26 years with the caveat that the studies used different estimation methods. This stability is in contrast with the increasing trends for most green turtle nesting aggregations in the Atlantic.
... Beach armoring [93][94][95][96] and nourishment have also been shown to be detrimental to nesting sea turtles and hatchlings. Beach nourishment can affect nesting success [97] by causing beach compaction, changing the nest-chamber geometry and concealment etc, and also the escarpments make it harder for females to reach nesting areas. ...
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For over hundreds of millions of years, sea turtles and their ancestors have swum in the vast expanses of the ocean. They have undergone a number of evolutionary changes, leading to speciation and sub-speciation. However, in the past few decades, some of the most notable forces driving the genetic variance and population decline have been global warming and anthropogenic impact ranging from large-scale poaching, collecting turtle eggs for food, besides dumping trash including plastic waste into the ocean. This leads to severe detrimental effects in the sea turtle population, driving them to extinction. This research focusses on the forces causing the decline in sea turtle population, the necessity for the global conservation efforts along with its successes and failures, followed by an in-depth analysis of the modern advances in detection and recognition of sea turtles, involving Machine Learning and Computer Vision systems, aiding the conservation efforts.
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Most of the studies on sea turtle nesting activity nowadays are focused on the impacts of climate change. However, there is a lack of studies gathering knowledge about the influence of coastal vulnerability to erosion and settlement to assess sea turtle nesting. This study aims to verify the influence of coastal erosion vulnerability over sea turtle nesting in five Brazilian Northeast beaches, in Pernambuco state, at Ipojuca coast. The main analyzed parameters were the urban settlement, coastal erosion indicators and the conservation status of the dunes by assessing shoreline change rates, backshore extension, vegetation cover and beaches morphodynamics associated aspects. Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient and tests of Kruskal–Wallis, Mann–Whitney, Shapiro–Wilk and Levene were employed as a set of statistical analyses. The results state that Eretmochelys imbricata is the predominant species that nests at the Ipojuca coast (93.2% of nesting females). There is a significant difference in the number of nests among the studied beaches (Kruskal–Wallis; p = 0.004). A strong and positive correlation between the backshore width and the number of nests was verified (Spearman’s rank correlation, rs = 0.881; p = 0.0002). The results indicate the preference for nesting on wavedominated beaches, where the coastal reefs are absent and there is a well-developed backshore, mainly due to the lower urban settlement in these areas. Thus, efforts focused on preserving nesting beaches, especially those under high urbanization, are a key factor for sea turtle preservation.
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We studied inter- and postnesting movements in the major loggerhead Caretta caretta nesting population in Brazil. Ten breeding females were satellite-tracked from nesting grounds in the state of Bahia, northeastern Brazil, for up to 1284 d. Eight females stayed in the nesting area after deployment, showing fidelity between internesting home ranges and nesting locations, even at a local scale. During postnesting movements, all of the turtles migrated to the northern coast of Brazil to individual foraging areas on the continental shelf. Distances between nesting and foraging areas reached up to 2400 km, and migration lasted from 28 to 47 d. Five females were tracked during subsequent breeding migrations to the nesting area at different remigration intervals of 2 or 3 yr. Females were also tracked during a second postnesting migration back to foraging areas, and these showed strong fidelity to foraging grounds. Movements to and from foraging grounds occurred along the shelf, clearly delineating a migratory corridor. The northern coast of Brazil, specifically the coast of the state of Ceará, is an important foraging ground for loggerheads nesting along the northern coast of Bahia.
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Oil spills can devastate ecosystems and severely impact wa-ter quality. The Environmental Sensitivity Index [ESI) was de-veloped to reduce the en vironmen tal consequences of a spill and help prioritize the placement and allocation of resources during cleanup efforts. The successful use of analog and dig-ital geographic information system versions of the ESI con-cept during the past ten years has led to improvements and refinements, including (I) the development of tidal inlet pro-tection strategy maps produced before a spill that specify the type of response (e.g., boom, skimmer) and where and h o w to place it, (2) new large format seasonal summary maps, (3) geographic expansion of the ESI concept inland to classify the sensitivity of rivers using a river Reach Sensitivity Index (RSI), (4) regional watershed analysis to identify hazards and potential spill consequences, and (5) the identification of un-usually sensitive areas to environmental damage i f there is a hazardous liquid pipeline accident.
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Olive ridley sea turtles display two different types of nesting behavior: in arribada (synchronous mass nesting) or solitarily. Contrarily to arribadas, little has been published about solitary nesters. This study aimed to expand the knowledge on internesting interval and site fidelity of solitary nesting olive ridleys and to test a possible development of arribada nesting behavior. Data were collected in Sergipe (Brazil) over 125 km of beach from 10°30′S/36º23′W to 11°26′S/37º19′W, between nesting seasons 2004/2005 and 2006/2007. From 962 tagged females, 173 were seen renesting. The average internesting interval found was longer (22.35 ± 7.01 days) than previously described, which might relate to lower water temperatures during the internesting period. Olive ridleys at Sergipe showed high nesting site fidelity, with consecutive nesting events occurring in close proximity, non-randomly and dependently of previous events. Most of the consecutive nests were separated by 4.06–5.59 km. Development of arribada nesting behavior was not confirmed.
It is widely recognized that tourism is one of the world's largest and fastest growing industries. Historically sandy beaches have played an important role as locations for recreation and as attractions upon which tourism development has been based. This use of beaches for recreation-and tourism has had significant impacts environmentally, socially and economically. As a consequence it is-now understood that significant costs are often associated with tourism development. Irrespective of this, demand for high quality beach environs continues to grow while the corresponding availability of such environs is diminishing. :rhus, significant conflicts are arising. Simplistic management approaches will not solve this dilemma, rather creative, dynamic and ongoing applications tailor-made to the needs of specific areas are needed to ensure the future of these most popular of tourism attractions. The use of sandy beaches for tourism will be one of the significant management challenges in the coastal zone in the 21st Century.
Fracture mechanics is used for the detailed analysis of the failure of high-speed rotating cylindrical vessels. The general procedure for the analysis of fatigue life and failure used in this study is summarized; the initial material properties are also described. The results of the theoretical stress analysis are compared to the observed magnitude of the stress under the operational condition. The fracture-surface configurations observed under both optical and scanning electron microscopes are used to investigate the progress of fatigue crack propagation. Fatigue life estimates obtained by using the Paris model are compared to the actual service life of the high-speed rotating pressure vessel.
Tourism is a major source of income in Malaysia, and coastal development for tourism is greatly encouraged. This study reviews the policies that affect the development of coastal resorts, hotels and tourism-related infrastructure in Malaysia from the pre-construction phase to the post-construction operational phase. Problems in coastal protection policies have deep roots including a lack of public support and awareness for environmental issues, inadequate governmental agency coordination and lack of funding which is necessary for successful implementation. A review of studies assessing the usefulness of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) in Malaysia was conducted to determine whether potential impacts were well understood prior to starting development, and highlighted the issue of poor Environmental Management Plans during the operations phase of most coastal resorts. At the current level of fiscal, governmental and public support it is difficult to enforce policies aimed at minimizing environmental impacts from coastal resort developers.