Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Major turtle nesting beaches protected in 1 of the UK's far flung overseas territories


But on the remote UK overseas territory of Ascension Island, one of the world's largest green turtle populations is undergoing something of a renaissance.

Writing in the journal Biodiversity and Conservation, scientists from the University of Exeter and Ascension Island Government Conservation Department report that the number of green turtles nesting at the remote South Atlantic outpost has increased by more than 500 per cent since records began in the 1970s.

Green Turtle Digging Nest

Whereas in the 1970s and 80s you would have been lucky to find 30 turtles on the Island's main nesting beach on any night, in 2013 there were more than 400 females nesting in a single evening.

Credit: Sam Weber

As many as 24,000 nests are now estimated to be laid on the Island's main beaches every year, making it the second largest nesting colony for this species in the Atlantic Ocean.

Lead author, Dr Sam Weber, said: "The increase has been dramatic. Whereas in the 1970s and 80's you would have been lucky to find 30 turtles on the Island's main nesting beach on any night, in 2013 we had more than 400 females nesting in a single evening".

... more about:
»Atlantic »Conservation »Island »breeding »levels »species »turtles

The scientists' report comes as Ascension Island Government announces that it is committing a fifth of the territory's land area to biodiversity conservation. New legislation enacted by the Island's Governor, Mark Capes, on the 28th of July creates seven new nature reserves and wildlife sanctuaries that include the Island's three main turtle nesting beaches, along with globally-important seabird colonies that are home to more than 800,000 nesting seabirds.

The legislation was developed during a two year project run by Ascension Island Government and the University of Exeter to develop a national biodiversity action plan for the territory.

Dr Nicola Weber, Ascension Island Government's Head of Conservation, said: "The decision to give legal protection to our most iconic wildlife sites follows extensive public consultation and has received a high level of support from across of the community. It speaks volumes as to how seriously environmental stewardship is currently taken on the Island".

Dr Annette Broderick, who is leading the project for the University of Exeter, added: "I am delighted that these globally important nesting sites have been afforded protection. This has been a goal for many years and has been achieved as a result of the dedication of the AI Government team who have been working towards this for several years."

To trace the origins of the current turtle boom you need to go back to before the Second World War. Dr Broderick, who has been researching sea turtles on Ascension Island for the past 15 years and led the recent study, said: "Green turtles were an important source of food for those on the island and passing ships would take live turtles onboard to ensure fresh meat for their voyage. Ships returning to the UK would stock up with turtles for the Lords of the Admiralty, who had a penchant for turtle soup. Records show a dramatic decline in the number of turtles harvested each year as fewer and fewer came to nest and since the 1950s no turtles have been harvested. We are now seeing the population bounce back, although our models suggest we have not yet reached pre-harvest levels."

Turtles were legally protected on Ascension Island in 1944 and the population has never looked back. "Because sea turtles take so long to reach breeding age, we are only now beginning to see the results of conservation measures introduced decades ago", says Dr Weber. "It just goes to show how populations of large, marine animals can recover from human exploitation if we protect them over long enough periods."

Eleanor Gaskarth | Eurek Alert!
Further information:

Further reports about: Atlantic Conservation Island breeding levels species turtles

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Blacklists Protect the Rainforest
24.09.2015 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht Small Alga – Great Effect
22.09.2015 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenökologie (ZMT)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Kick-off for a new era of precision astronomy

The MICADO camera, a first light instrument for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), has entered a new phase in the project: by agreeing to a Memorandum of Understanding, the partners in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Austria, and Italy, have all confirmed their participation. Following this milestone, the project's transition into its preliminary design phase was approved at a kick-off meeting held in Vienna. Two weeks earlier, on September 18, the consortium and the European Southern Observatory (ESO), which is building the telescope, have signed the corresponding collaboration agreement.

As the first dedicated camera for the E-ELT, MICADO will equip the giant telescope with a capability for diffraction-limited imaging at near-infrared...

Im Focus: Locusts at the wheel: University of Graz investigates collision detector inspired by insect eyes

Self-driving cars will be on our streets in the foreseeable future. In Graz, research is currently dedicated to an innovative driver assistance system that takes over control if there is a danger of collision. It was nature that inspired Dr Manfred Hartbauer from the Institute of Zoology at the University of Graz: in dangerous traffic situations, migratory locusts react around ten times faster than humans. Working together with an interdisciplinary team, Hartbauer is investigating an affordable collision detector that is equipped with artificial locust eyes and can recognise potential crashes in time, during both day and night.

Inspired by insects

Im Focus: Physicists shrink particle accelerator

Prototype demonstrates feasibility of building terahertz accelerators

An interdisciplinary team of researchers has built the first prototype of a miniature particle accelerator that uses terahertz radiation instead of radio...

Im Focus: Simple detection of magnetic skyrmions

New physical effect: researchers discover a change of electrical resistance in magnetic whirls

At present, tiny magnetic whirls – so called skyrmions – are discussed as promising candidates for bits in future robust and compact data storage devices. At...

Im Focus: High-speed march through a layer of graphene

In cooperation with the Center for Nano-Optics of Georgia State University in Atlanta (USA), scientists of the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics and the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität have made simulations of the processes that happen when a layer of carbon atoms is irradiated with strong laser light.

Electrons hit by strong laser pulses change their location on ultrashort timescales, i.e. within a couple of attoseconds (1 as = 10 to the minus 18 sec). In...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

EHFG 2015: Securing healthcare and sustainably strengthening healthcare systems

01.10.2015 | Event News

Conference in Brussels: Tracking and Tracing the Smallest Marine Life Forms

30.09.2015 | Event News

World Alzheimer`s Day – Professor Willnow: Clearer Insights into the Development of the Disease

17.09.2015 | Event News

Latest News

Kick-off for a new era of precision astronomy

07.10.2015 | Physics and Astronomy

Distinguishing coincidence from causality: connections in the climate system

07.10.2015 | Earth Sciences

Finding cannabinoids in hair does not prove cannabis consumption

07.10.2015 | Health and Medicine

More VideoLinks >>>