Stock structure, connectivity and breeding sex ratios of eastern Pacific hawksbills

Metadata Updated: February 7, 2017

This project, initiated with FY13 funds and extended with FY14 funds, will determine stock structure, connectivity & phylogeography of Pacific hawksbill turtles using both nuclear (microsatellite) and mtDNA markers to provide a comprehensive assessment of demographic history and both male and female connectivity. To date, we used mtDNA and 25 microsatellite loci to conduct the first-ever genetic survey of hawksbill nesting stocks in the eastern Pacific Ocean. We analyzed 160 tissue samples collected between 2008 and 2014 from nine rookeries across the region. Our results provide novel insights into population structuring and the evolutionary origins of hawksbill turtles in the eastern Pacific. Three previously identified haplotypes and four new haplotypes were found with overall frequencies of 78.7% and 21.3%, respectively; the latter only evident in Central American nesting rookeries. Significant differentiation was found between the four nesting rookeries for which we had sufficient sample sizes (n [HTML_REMOVED] 10), providing evidence for stock structuring in the eastern Pacific. We are collecting sample sets to apply kinship approaches to reconstruct parental genotypes from mother-offspring comparison to census males, determine operational sex ratios (OSR) of the breeding population, reproductive success of males and mating systems. A total of 2,540 hatchlings from 131 nests laid by at least 53 females (27 nests from unobserved females) were collected from Nicaragua and a total of 1,245 hatchlings from 64 nests laid by at least 46 females in El Salvador were collected during 2013 nesting season, and are currently being genotyped. We have also developed new nuclear SNP markers for hawksbill turtles and are currently genotyping a subset of rookery data to combine and compare with the micro satellites for analysis of stock structure. These genetic approaches can be used in conjunction with traditional tagging studies and satellite telemetry to improve stock assessments by incorporating missing life history and demographic parameters that allow estimation of vital rates of populations, including age at first reproduction, survivorship at different life history stages, dispersal and migration at different life history stages. The ultimate goal of this research is to inform ESA Status Reviews and produce a comprehensive baseline dataset for Pacific hawksbills.

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Metadata Date February 24, 2016
Metadata Created Date March 7, 2016
Metadata Updated Date February 7, 2017
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Harvested from NOAA CSW Harvest Source

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Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Date February 24, 2016
Metadata Created Date March 7, 2016
Metadata Updated Date February 7, 2017
Reference Date(s) (publication)
Responsible Party Southwest Fisheries Science Center (Point of Contact)
Contact Email
Access Constraints Access Constraints: none | Use Constraints: Disclaimer - While every effort has been made to ensure that these data are accurate and reliable within the limits of the current state of the art, NOAA cannot assume liability for any damages caused by any errors or omissions in the data, nor as a result of the failure of the data to function on a particular system. NOAA makes no warranty, expressed or implied, nor does the fact of distribution constitute such a warranty.
Coupled Resource
Frequency Of Update
Guid gov.noaa.nmfs.inport:21713
Harvest Object Id c9fc068d-0cbc-4080-851b-93ab46b59679
Harvest Source Id 2aed8e29-fc5b-4cde-aa66-fb1118fd705e
Harvest Source Title NOAA CSW Harvest Source
Metadata Language eng
Metadata Type geospatial
Progress onGoing
Spatial Data Service Type
Spatial Reference System
Spatial Harvester True
Temporal Extent Begin 2013

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