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

30.07.2014

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:
http://www.exeter.ac.uk

Further reports about: Atlantic Conservation Island breeding levels species turtles

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Managing an endangered river across the US-Mexico border
18.07.2016 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht The European pet trade is jeopardising the survival of rare reptile species
13.07.2016 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung - UFZ

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: Mapping electromagnetic waveforms

Munich Physicists have developed a novel electron microscope that can visualize electromagnetic fields oscillating at frequencies of billions of cycles per second.

Temporally varying electromagnetic fields are the driving force behind the whole of electronics. Their polarities can change at mind-bogglingly fast rates, and...

Im Focus: Continental tug-of-war - until the rope snaps

Breakup of continents with two speed: Continents initially stretch very slowly along the future splitting zone, but then move apart very quickly before the onset of rupture. The final speed can be up to 20 times faster than in the first, slow extension phase.phases

Present-day continents were shaped hundreds of millions of years ago as the supercontinent Pangaea broke apart. Derived from Pangaea’s main fragments Gondwana...

Im Focus: A Peek into the “Birthing Room” of Ribosomes

Scaffolding and specialised workers help with the delivery – Heidelberg biochemists gain new insights into biogenesis

A type of scaffolding on which specialised workers ply their trade helps in the manufacturing process of the two subunits from which the ribosome – the protein...

Im Focus: New protocol enables analysis of metabolic products from fixed tissues

Scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum München have developed a new mass spectrometry imaging method which, for the first time, makes it possible to analyze hundreds of metabolites in fixed tissue samples. Their findings, published in the journal Nature Protocols, explain the new access to metabolic information, which will offer previously unexploited potential for tissue-based research and molecular diagnostics.

In biomedical research, working with tissue samples is indispensable because it permits insights into the biological reality of patients, for example, in...

Im Focus: Computer Simulation Renders Transient Chemical Structures Visible

Chemists at the University of Basel have succeeded in using computer simulations to elucidate transient structures in proteins. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, the researchers set out how computer simulations of details at the atomic level can be used to understand proteins’ modes of action.

Using computational chemistry, it is possible to characterize the motion of individual atoms of a molecule. Today, the latest simulation techniques allow...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

GROWING IN CITIES - Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Urban Gardening

15.07.2016 | Event News

SIGGRAPH2016 Computer Graphics Interactive Techniques, 24-28 July, Anaheim, California

15.07.2016 | Event News

Partner countries of FAIR accelerator meet in Darmstadt and approve developments

11.07.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Hey robot, shimmy like a centipede

22.07.2016 | Information Technology

New record in materials research: 1 terapascals in a laboratory

22.07.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

University of Graz researchers challenge 140-year-old paradigm of lichen symbiosis

22.07.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>