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14 FEBRUARY 2020 • VOL 367 ISSUE 6479 749SCIENCE sciencemag.org
PHOTO: AUSTIN GALLAGHER
contributing millions of dollars to local
economies through dive ecotourism (9).
The Greater Caribbean region relies
on healthy oceans to drive tourism and
sustain livelihoods. These developing
nations are poised to face mounting pres-
sures for access to fisheries in return for
development, as well as the increasing
impacts of habitat degradation and climate
change. MPA creation and enforcement
are admittedly complex; however, to arrest
the decline of threatened species in the
region, establishing large-scale MPAs in the
Greater Caribbean is both an opportunity
and a necessity.
Austin J. Gallagher1*, Diva J. Amon2,3, Tadzio
Bervoets4, Oliver N. Shipley5, Neil Hammerschlag6,
David W. Sims7,8
1Beneath the Waves, Herndon, VA 20172, USA.
2Department of Life Sciences, Natural History
Museum, London, UK. 3SpeSeas, Port of Spain,
Trinidad and Tobago. 4Dutch Caribbean Nature
Alliance, Kralendijk, Bonaire. 5School of Marine and
Atmospheric Sciences, Stony Brook University,
Stony Brook, NY 11794, USA. 6Rosenstiel School
of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of
Miami, Miami, FL 33146, USA. 7Marine Biological
Association of the UK, Plymouth, PL1 2PB, UK.
8University of Southampton, Southampton, SO14
3ZH, UK.
*Corresponding author.
Email: austin@beneaththewaves.org
REFERENCES AND NOTES
1. D. Juffe-Bignoli et al., “Protected planet report 2014”
(UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge, UK, 2014).
2. N. Qu eiroz et al., Nature 572, 461 (2019).
3. C. M. Ro berts et al., Science 295, 1280 (2002).
4. C. Smyth, Q. A. Hanich, “Large scale marine protected
areas: Current status and consideration of socio-eco-
nomic dimensions” (Pew Charitable Trusts, Washington,
DC, 201 9).
5. G. Bustamante et al., Aquat. Conserv. Mar. Fresh.
Ecosyst. 24, 153 (2014).
6. A. P. Guarderas, S. D. Hacker, J. Lubchenco, Conserv. Biol.
22, 1630 (2008).
7. C. A. Ward-Pa ige et al. , PLOS One 8, e11968 (2010).
8. F. Ferretti, R . A. Myers, F. Sere na, H. K. Lo tze, Conserv.
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9. A. J. Gallagher, N. Hammerschlag, Curr. Issue. Tourism
14, 797 (2011).
10.1126/science.abb0650
The Caribbean needs big
marine protected areas
Large-scale marine protected areas (MPAs)
(>100,000 km2) seek to protect and connect
large pelagic ecosystems, enhance ecologi-
cal processes, and promote socioeconomic
benefits including sustainable fisheries (1).
One of their greatest benefits is the potential
to conserve highly migratory species such as
sharks, which can travel long distances span-
ning multiple national exclusive economic
zones (2). Despite a growing international
interest among many national govern-
ments, nongovernmental organizations,
and academic and philanthropic communi-
ties to create large-scale MPAs, the Greater
Caribbean, which contains the greatest
diversity of marine biota in the Atlantic
Ocean (3), has been grossly overlooked.
There are currently 33 large-scale MPAs,
but not one is in the Caribbean Sea (4).
Although there is a rich history of the estab-
lishment of MPAs in the Greater Caribbean
(5), the majority allow fishing (6) and do not
take into account the full representation of
ocean habitats and connectivity required
to encompass the space use of migratory
species. Large sharks are overfished in the
region; because they are caught locally
in high numbers, they are sparse across
most of the Greater Caribbean (7). [The
Mediterranean ocean basin, which is simi-
larly lacking in large-scale MPAs, provides
another glimpse of this trend—there, large
sharks have virtually disappeared due to
fishing pressure (8)]. Fortunately, in certain
countries where commercial longline fishing
has been banned (such as The Bahamas),
shark populations remain strong, thereby
Edited by Jennifer Sills
LETTERS
Imposter syndrome
threatens diversity
As higher education institutions adopt
admissions and hiring policies that promote
diversity and inclusion, they must also
implement policies to acknowledge and
combat the feelings of self-doubt known
as imposter syndrome. Those with impos-
ter syndrome have an innate fear of being
discovered as a fraud or non-deserving pro-
fessional, despite their demonstrated talent
and achievements (1). Imposter syndrome
has been found to be more prevalent in high
achievers (2, 3), women (3), and under-
represented racial, ethnic, and religious
minorities (47). If institutions and depart-
ments don’t take steps to allay these fears,
the science pipeline could suffer.
At an individual level, imposter syn-
drome can lead to psychological distress,
emotional suffering, and serious men-
tal health disorders, including chronic
dysphoric stress, anxiety, depression,
and drug abuse (8). In many cases, the
phenomenon manifests as early as high
school or college (9). Strikingly, in college
students belonging to racial minorities,
mental health problems have been better
predicted by imposter feelings than by
the stress associated with their minority
status (10). By constantly downplaying
their own accomplishments, those suffer-
ing from imposter syndrome may sabotage
their own career (4). At the societal level,
imposter syndrome may explain the higher
drop-out rates of women and minorities
from the science, technology, engineering,
and mathematics pipeline (3, 11).
To effectively increase diversity, institu-
tions must address imposter syndrome by
increasing the visibility of the problem,
Migratory species such as
tiger sharks benefit from large
marine protected areas.
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on February 13, 2020 http://science.sciencemag.org/Downloaded from
providing access to mental health coaching,
and implementing supportive organi-
zational policies. Professors, principal
investigators, and peers should encourage
students and fellow scientists to focus on
factual evidence regarding their academic
performance and to set realistic expecta-
tions. Open discussions about imposter
syndrome at the institutional level should
put a name to these feelings and normal-
ize them as common experiences rather
than pathologizing them (3). Group peer
mentoring can allow mentees to gradu-
ally transition into mentors, building their
self-confidence as they become indepen-
dent scientists (12). Institutions should
provide training for mentors to help them
recognize the negative consequences of
the imposter syndrome. Finally, outreach
programs to high schools should make
students aware of imposter syndrome to
help them identify and overcome it as they
pursue their own education and careers.
George P. Chrousos1* and Alexios-Fotios Mentis2,3
1University Research Institute of Maternal and
Child Health & Precision Medicine, and UNESCO
Chair on Adolescent Health Care, National and
Kapodistrian University of Athens, “Aghia Sophia”
Children’s Hospital, Athens, Greece. 2Public Health
Laboratories, Hellenic Pasteur Institute, Athens,
Greece. 3Laboratory of Microbiology, University
Hospital of Larissa, School of Medicine, University
of Thessaly, Larissa, Greece.
*Corresponding author.
Email: chrousge@med.uoa.gr
Fossil records show that the koala spe-
cies (Phascolarctos cinereus) is about 30
million years old (1). Koalas are robust—
the species has persisted in part because
it has evolved to metabolize and excrete
eucalyptus toxins (2). However, koalas
have undergone genetic bottlenecks and
drastic population declines due to hunt-
ing, car accidents, deforestation, climate
change, and diseases such as Chlamydia
and koala retroviruses. These threats have
caused direct mortalities, reduced the
koalas’ reproductive capacity, and limited
population distribution (3–5). A 2018 study
estimated that the koala population might
be as low as 43,000 individuals (6).
Despite the koala’s historic resilience,
recent Australia wildfires have put them in
grave danger. Since September 2019, nearly
1 billion animals have died in the fires,
including at least 25,000 koalas (7). In the
New South Wales region alone, 30% of the
koala population has likely been killed (8).
The koala’s habitat is now even smaller
and more fragmented than before. In the
face of these setbacks, koalas could soon
become functionally extinct (9).
To help the koala population, the current
IUCN listing of koalas as Vulnerable should
be immediately upgraded to Critically
Endangered. In addition, Australia should
increase forestation in the key habitat areas.
This will not only help the koalas but also
reduce the carbon footprint and climate
change currently threatening so many other
species and the region overall (10).
Su Shiung Lam1, Courtney Waugh2, Wanxi Peng3,
Christian Sonne4,3*
1Henan Agricultural University at Zhengzhou,
China, and Universiti Malaysia Terengganu at
Terengganu, Malaysia. 2University of Queensland
at Brisbane, QLD, Australia and Nord University
at Steinkjer, Norway. 3Forestry College of Henan
Agricultural University at Zhengzhou, China.
4Aarhus University at Roskilde, Denmark.
*Corresponding author. Email: cs@bios.au.dk
REFERENCES AND NOTES
1. K. H. Bl ack et al., Gondwana Res. 25, 1193 (2014).
2. B. D. Moo re, W. J. Foley, Nature 435, 488 (2005).
3. S. Farzin et al., Ecography 42, 1587 (20 19).
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5. B. S. La w et al ., PLOS One 13, e0205075 (2018).
6. Australian Koala Foundation, “The koala—Endangered
or not?” (2020); www.savethekoala.com/about-koalas/
koala-endangered-or-not.
7. G. Readfearn, “Kangaroo Island bushfires: Grave
fears for unique wildlife after estimated 25,000
koalas killed,The Guardian (2020); www.the-
guardian.com/australia-news/2020/jan/07/
kangaroo-island-bushfires-grave-fears-for-unique-
wildlife-after-estimated-25000-koalas-killed.
8. E. Newburger,Australia fires kill half a billion
animals as crisis mounts,CNBC (2020); www.cnbc.
com/2020/01/03/australia-fires-nearly-half-a-billion-
animals-killed-as-crisis-mounts.html.
9. J. Davidson, “‘Functionally extinct’ koalas have now
lost 80% of habitat following recent fires, experts
say, EcoWatch (2019); www.ecowatch.com/koalas-
functionally-extinct-fires-2641450078.html.
10. G . Popk in, Nature 565, 280 (2019).
10.1126/science.aba8372
NEXTGEN VOICES: SUBMIT NOW
Mentor a job seeker
Add your voice to Science! In this NextGen Voices survey, a reader asks for your
advice. Have you been in this situation or one like it? Do you have any tips that you would
like to share? Become a NextGen Voices peer mentor by contributing your thoughts.
Dear NextGen Voices peer mentors,
I am the first of my family to go to graduate school, and I’m about to defend my Ph.D.
It has been a really tough few years, but now I’ve completed all the requirements in
my program, published two papers, and coauthored several more. I was even given
an “outstanding student” grant to attend a conference this year! Even so, this all feels
quite average for a Ph.D. student, and I feel like I can attribute most of my achieve-
ments to luck. The support of my peers and adviser also helped me a lot. As I apply for
jobs, I can often think of a colleague who seems more qualified for the position than
I am. I fail to meet many of the requirements listed for jobs outside of academia, but
the jobs I do qualify for seem like they’re all for people with less education than I have.
Still, I don’t want to oversell myself in applications or interviews. How can I realistically
assess my own potential and avoid wasting time applying to jobs I could never get?
Sincerely,
Seeking Career Clarity
To submit, go to www.sciencemag.org/nextgen-voices
Deadline for submissions is 28 February. A selection of the best responses will be
published in the 3 April issue of Science. Submissions should be 150 words or less.
Anonymous submissions will not be considered.
750 14 FEBRUARY 2020 • VOL 367 ISSUE 6479 sciencemag.org SCIENCE
REFERENCES AND NOTES
1. P. R. Clance, S . A. Imes, Psychother. Theory Res. Pract. 15,
241 (197 8).
2. D. Dickerson, Nature 574, 5 88 (20 19).
3. M. Pri ce, Science 4, 10.1126/science.caredit.a1300188
(2013).
4. S. Mullangi, R. Jagsi, JAMA 322, 403 (2 019).
5. A. Parkman, J. High. Educ. Theory Pract. 16, 51 (2016).
6. A. M. Holliday et al., J. Gen. Intern. Med. 10.1007/s11606-
019-05441-5 (2019).
7. K. Cokley et al., J. Counsel. Psych. 64, 141 (2017).
8. C. Sonnak, T. Towell, Person. Indiv. Diff. 31, 863 (2001).
9. D. M. Brava ta et al., J. Gen. Intern. Med. 10.1007/s11606-
019-05364-1 (2019).
10. K. Cokley et al., J. Multicult. Counsel. Dev. 41, 82 (2013).
11. S.-A. A. Allen-Ramdial, A. G. Campbell, BioScience 64,
612 (2014).
12. M. C. Horner-Devine, T. Gonsalves, C. Margherio, S. J.
Mizumori, J. W. Yen, Science 362, 532 (2018).
10.1126/science.aba8039
Wildfire puts koalas at
risk of extinction
In his In Depth News story “Australia’s
vulnerable species hit hard by fires” (20
December, p. 1427), J. Pickrell discusses
the plight of some of the plant and animal
species hit hardest by the wildfires in
Australia. Although perhaps not in as
imminent danger as the species he high-
lights, Australia’s koala population has also
been put in a precarious position by the
fires. As scientists work to assess the dam-
age, they should not overlook the koala.
INSIGHTS |
LETTERS
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on February 13, 2020 http://science.sciencemag.org/Downloaded from
The Caribbean needs big marine protected areas
Austin J. Gallagher, Diva J. Amon, Tadzio Bervoets, Oliver N. Shipley, Neil Hammerschlag and David W. Sims
DOI: 10.1126/science.abb0650
(6479), 749.367Science
ARTICLE TOOLS http://science.sciencemag.org/content/367/6479/749.1
REFERENCES http://science.sciencemag.org/content/367/6479/749.1#BIBL
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... Yet, historical and recent overfishing, combined with the consumption of sharks in the region (e.g., Ali et al., 2020), have rendered its shark populations patchy and variable among countries (Ward-Paige et al., 2010;Bakker et al., 2017;MacNeil et al., 2020). As a result, there is a need for exploring and creating large scale MPAs in the region to aid in the conservation of sharks and their movements (Gallagher et al., 2020). The Commonwealth of The Bahamas is known for its relatively robust shark populations (Brooks et al., 2011;Gallagher and Hammerschlag, 2011;MacNeil et al., 2020), which benefited from the prohibition of commercial longlining and gillnetting in 1993 and the declaration of The Bahamas exclusive economic zone (EEZ, > 600,000 km 2 ) as a shark sanctuary in 2011 (Haas et al., 2017;Talwar et al., 2020). ...
... The conservation of coastal and semi-coastal shark species is a primary goal and intended outcome for establishing MPAs and facilitating their long-term persistence among island nations (Heupel et al., 2019;Gallagher et al., 2020). Few studies FIGURE 5 | Random forests outputs for the presence/absence of Caribbean reef sharks (red) and tiger sharks (yellow) in New Providence (left) and Exuma (right), including variable importance scores (mean decrease accuracy; ± 95% CI; top) and marginal effects of predictors (predicted values holding other predictors constant). ...
... Large MPAs should play a pivotal role in pursuing the goal of restoring the abundance of marine life in our oceans by 2050 (Duarte et al., 2020). Large MPAs can effectively conserve resident and migratory sharks in the Greater Caribbean, including the network of habitats they use, and should likewise be a valuable tool in other countries bearing similar characteristics (Gallagher et al., 2020). ...
Article
Full-text available
Marine protected areas (MPAs) have emerged as potentially important conservation tools for the conservation of biodiversity and mitigation of climate impacts. Among MPAs, a large percentage has been created with the implicit goal of protecting shark populations, including 17 shark sanctuaries which fully protect sharks throughout their jurisdiction. The Commonwealth of the Bahamas represents a long-term MPA for sharks, following the banning of commercial longlining in 1993 and subsequent designation as a shark sanctuary in 2011. Little is known, however, about the long-term behavior and space use of sharks within this protected area, particularly among reef-associated sharks for which the sanctuary presumably offers the most benefit. We used acoustic telemetry to advance our understanding of the ecology of such sharks, namely Caribbean reef sharks (Carcharhinus perezi) and tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier), over two discrete islands (New Providence and Great Exuma) varying in human activity level, over 2 years. We evaluated which factors influenced the likelihood of detection of individuals, analyzed patterns of movement and occurrence, and identified variability in habitat selection among species and regions, using a dataset of 23 Caribbean reef sharks and 15 tiger sharks which were passively monitored in two arrays with a combined total of 13 acoustic receivers. Caribbean reef sharks had lower detection probabilities than tiger sharks, and exhibited relatively low habitat connectivity and high residency, while tiger sharks demonstrated wider roaming behavior across much greater space. Tiger sharks were associated with shallow seagrass habitats where available, but frequently transited between and connected different habitat types. Our data support the notion that large MPAs afford greater degrees of protection for highly resident species such as Caribbean reef sharks, shark, acoustic telemetry, marine protected area, MPA, seagrass, coral reef, Bahamas, Caribbean
... Marine megafauna are protected under a variety of international and domestic laws to conserve their important roles in maintaining the structure and function of their associated ecosystems (Estes et al., 2011;McCauley et al., 2015). Many proponents of large MPAs point to their size as a way to protect marine megafauna and their habitats (e.g., Game et al., 2009;Toonen et al., 2013;O'Leary et al., 2018;Gallagher et al., 2020). Moreover, many MPA guidelines (Lewis et al., 2017;Smyth and Hanich, 2019) as well as official MPA declarations explicitly cite megafauna protection as a key driver of establishment for large-scale MPAs, such as the Ross Sea Marine Protected Area (Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, 2016), and expansion of Papahānaumokuākea (Executive Office of the US President, 2016) and the Pacific Remote Islands (Executive Office of the US President, 2014) Marine National Monuments in the US, though many smaller, coastal MPAs are created for other reasons. ...
... Despite limitations in the protective capacity of MPAs and the reality that their benefits will vary across species and regions, area-based conservation measures, including MPAs, have been repeatedly identified as a key strategy for the protection of all marine megafauna taxa presented here (e.g. Scott et al., 2012;Lascelles et al., 2014;Gallagher et al., 2020;Handley et al., 2021;Nelms et al., 2021). As larger MPAs become increasingly common and established, it will become critical to quantify explicit population-level impacts of these MPAs on marine megafauna, as has been done for less mobile species (e.g., Halpern, 2003). ...
Article
Full-text available
Marine protected areas (MPAs), particularly large MPAs, are increasing in number and size around the globe in part to facilitate the conservation of marine megafauna under the assumption that large-scale MPAs better align with vagile life histories; however, this alignment is not well established. Using a global tracking dataset from 36 species across five taxa, chosen to reflect the span of home range size in highly mobile marine megafauna, we show most MPAs are too small to encompass complete home ranges of most species. Based on size alone, 40% of existing MPAs could encompass the home ranges of the smallest ranged species, while only < 1% of existing MPAs could encompass those of the largest ranged species. Further, where home ranges and MPAs overlapped in real geographic space, MPAs encompassed < 5% of core areas used by all species. Despite most home ranges of mobile marine megafauna being much larger than existing MPAs, we demonstrate how benefits from MPAs are still likely to accrue by targeting seasonal aggregations and critical life history stages and through other management techniques.
... Marine Protected Areas are a widely used tool for the protection of biodiversity and are increasingly advocated as a strategy for protecting or restoring shark and ray populations worldwide [71,72]. However, given some of the shark species found in the Macaronesian waters are highly migratory, MPAs would likely only protect individuals for part of their life cycle [73]. ...
... Considering the rapid decline of many shark populations in the North Atlantic [3,6] and signs of significant overfishing in the Canary Current Marine Ecoregion [75], supra-regional control measures could be implemented to reduce shark-fishing mortality. A similar call for regional MPAs to protect highly-migratory species was recently announced in the Caribbean, which shares many similarities in terms of regional connectivity as the Macaronesian Region [72]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Macaronesia is formed by some of most isolated oceanic islands of the Atlantic Ocean. This region is typically heavily exploited by fisheries; however, in recent years, marine wildlife tourism has become popular and a shark-diving industry has emerged, potentially presenting an alternative for the sustainable use of sharks. Combining a literature review with interviews with dive operators conducting shark encounters in the Macaronesian archipelagos, we provide an overview of the challenges and conservation potential of shark-diving tourism for these territories. Owing to the regular presence of important shark species for tourism and the growth of the scuba-diving industry, shark-diving has potential to expand over the region. Yet, the overlap between European industrial fishing pressure and shark populations, coupled with the unregulated recreational and artisanal fishing sector in the Canary Islands and Cape Verde, may jeopardize the sustainability of the shark-diving industry. However, the economic benefits for local communities directly and indirectly produced by shark-diving tourism suggest local benefits, fostering stronger shark conservation in Macaronesia.
... Carcharhinus perezi likely exhibits year-round residency throughout its range, including in The Bahamas, making it vulnerable to local extirpation but also well suited to large no-take marine protected areas (Gallagher et al. 2020(Gallagher et al. , 2021Dwyer et al. 2020). New estimates of its life-history traits such as age at maturity and growth rate suggest that C. perezi may be more susceptible to overfishing (Musick et al. 2000) than previously considered, particularly at the northern extent of its range. ...
Article
Full-text available
The Caribbean reef shark (Carcharhinus perezi) is an economically important species in The Bahamas, where it is protected from fishing and is a mainstay for the shark dive tourism industry. Significant declines in abundance are suspected throughout much of its range, making the study of its life history and spatial ecology important for effective fisheries management and conservation planning. We used tag-recapture data collected in The Bahamas between 2008 and 2020 to investigate the species’ linear movements, population characteristics, life history, and growth. Sharks moved little between tag and recapture events (range: 0 to 8 km) despite multiple years at liberty for many sharks (range: 2 days to 7.1 years). We found no evidence of seasonal migration. We used a combined-sex von Bertalanffy growth function to estimate an asymptotic mean length at age (TL∞) of 205.8 cm total length and a growth coefficient (k) of 0.06. Theoretical maximum longevity was 43.3 to 57.8 years. Median male length at maturity (L50) was 148.9 cm total length (95% CI: 146.1–151.5 cm), which likely occurs around 14.8 years of age. Our results indicate slower growth of the Caribbean reef shark in The Bahamas than previously estimated in Venezuela. Our results suggest the Caribbean reef shark may be more vulnerable to overfishing and extirpation at the northern extent of its range than previously considered and that large no-take areas may be an effective conservation tool for this species.
... shark sanctuaries), many of which appear to occur within key shark-diving destinations [27]. These MPAs have been suggested as instruments for protecting or restoring shark populations worldwide [21,29,35,70]. However, the displacement of fishing activities and resulting social impact caused by the implementation of these MPAs is a complex issue, driven by challenges around access to adequate resources for financial compensation to local communities, as well as those related to monitoring and surveillance to ensure the effectiveness of MPAs [23,74]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Shark-diving tourism is an emerging industry in the Azores Islands. However, this industry directly competes with fishing, as both exploiting the same highly migratory shark species. This study quantifies the commercial value of the Azorean shark-diving industry based on a survey of dive tourists and local dive operators and the potential of this industry to further generate funds for implementation of direct conservation actions. The economic contribution of the shark-diving industry to the regional economy of the Azores in 2019 was estimated to be just over USD $ 1 Million. The results of a spiked censored interval data model of contingent valuation indicated that implementation of an extra conservation fee per dive trip, to be paid by dive tourists, could potentially yield over USD $ 103,000 per year to be used for management and enforcement of a proposed MPA for sharks around the dive sites. Our analysis suggests that the emerging shark-diving industry in the Azores Islands has potential to grow throughout the Macaronesian archipelago, thereby increasing tax revenues and the number of jobs and income to Azorean local communities, potentially promoting conservation and sustainable use of the shark populations. However, expansion of this industry into a robust contributor to the archipelago’s economy would require a concomitant strengthening of industry regulation, and support by the government, to protect businesses and investments. This could be partially obtained through improving in fisheries management, implementation of a functional MPA and adequate enforcement.
... Caribbean reef sharks are currently listed as 'Endangered' by the IUCN Red List (Carlson et al. 2021), although their absence from many nations where they should be found suggests historical or ongoing overfishing and contemporary population declines (MacNeil et al. 2020). As a result, establishing baseline assessments of Caribbean reef shark populations is needed to inform future spatial conservation measures throughout their range (Dwyer et al. 2020;Gallagher et al. 2020). This species is surprisingly understudied; few genetic studies have been conducted (Bernard et al. 2017), and its mitogenome remains undescribed. ...
Article
Full-text available
The Caribbean reef shark (Carcharhinus perezi; Poey, 1876) is a medium to large-bodied coastal and reef-associated predator found throughout the subtropical and tropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, although its populations are increasingly threatened by overfishing. We describe the first mitochondrial genome sequence for this species, using Illumina MiSeq sequencing of an individual from The Bahamas. We report the mitogenome sequence of the Caribbean reef shark to be 16,709 bp and composed two rRNA genes, 22 tRNA genes, 13 protein-coding genes, 2 non-coding regions; the D-loop control region and the origin of light-strand replication. We discuss the implications of this new information on future monitoring efforts and conservation measures such as marine protected areas, and urge for greater application of mitochondrial studies of sharks in the Atlantic Ocean.
... MPAs have been implemented around the world and they vary widely in purpose, size, duration, enforcement, and regulation [14,15]. In recent years, MPA effectiveness has become questioned; many fail to meet conservation and management goals because they lack local or governmental buy-in, enforcement, or are simply too small to be ecologically effective [16][17][18][19]. In addition, spatial conservation strategies often lack the formal incorporation of animal movement data to inform the size, structure, and ultimately, the effectiveness of the MPA [20,21]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background A better understanding of sea turtle spatial ecology is critical for the continued conservation of imperiled sea turtles and their habitats. For resource managers to develop the most effective conservation strategies, it is especially important to examine how turtles use and select for habitats within their developmental foraging grounds. Here, we examine the space use and relative habitat selection of immature green turtles (Chelonia mydas) using acoustic telemetry within the marine protected area, Buck Island Reef National Monument (BIRNM), St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands. Results Space use by turtles was concentrated on the southern side of Buck Island, but also extended to the northeast and northwest areas of the island, as indicated by minimum convex polygons (MCPs) and 99%, 95%, and 50% kernel density estimations (KDEs). On average space use for all categories was < 3 km² with mean KDE area overlap ranging from 41.9 to 67.7%. Cumulative monthly MCPs and their proportions to full MCPs began to stabilize 3 to 6 detection months after release, respectively. Resource selection functions (RSFs) were implemented using a generalized linear mixed effects model with turtle ID as the random effect. After model selection, the accuracy of the top model was 77.3% and showed relative habitat selection values were highest at shallow depths, for areas in close proximity to seagrass, and in reef zones for both day and night, and within lagoon zones at night. The top model was also extended to predict across BIRNM at both day and night. Conclusion More traditional acoustic telemetry analyses in combination with RSFs provide novel insights into animal space use and relative resource selection. Here, we demonstrated immature green turtles within the BIRNM have small, specific home ranges and core use areas with temporally varying relative selection strengths across habitat types. We conclude the BIRNM marine protected area is providing sufficient protection for immature green turtles, however, habitat protection could be focused in both areas of high space use and in locations where high relative selection values were determined. Ultimately, the methodologies and results presented here may help to design strategies to expand habitat protection for immature green turtles across their greater distribution.
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