Building new sea turtle populations in a biodiversity crisis

Building new sea turtle populations in a biodiversity crisis

The study examined the role of colonization that assisted in the establishment of new sea turtle populations and the need for the first generation of wild people. Found by: Alejandro Prat-Varela, Cayman Islands Department of Environment

Biodiversity loss has accelerated in the last decade, led by the effects of global warming, habitat change and the dispersal of species. and according to human activity. The reintroduction of captive animals is one of the possible solutions to this problem. A study led by scientists Marta Pascual and Carlos Carreras, members of the Evolutionary Genetics Laboratory of the Faculty of Biology and the Biodiversity Research Institute of the University of Barcelona (IRBio), looked at the result. of a green innovation project that began 50 years ago. in the Cayman Islands.

The results were published in a journal Nature Communications, ensures the success of the project in establishing new green turtle populations in the Cayman Islands and that the re -introduction from a captive population does not interfere with the welfare of the first generation of wild turtles. According to the authors, these results “suggest that as climate changes the survival of species, assisted colonization can be used as a conservation measure.”

The study, whose lead author Anna Barbanti, involved researcher Maria Turmo (UB-IRBio), and other experts from the University of Exeter and the Cayman Islands State Department. (United Kingdom).

It was kind of almost over in the middle of the 20th century

The green turtle (Chelonia mydas) is a worldwide spreader. In the Cayman Islands, the green turtle population is thought to have almost dwindled by the middle of the 20th century, due to overfishing.

In 1968, a green turtle farm was established – Cayman Turtle Farm (CTF), now the Cayman Turtle Conservation and Education Center – in Grand Cayman. This work has helped increase the number of pregnant women over the past twenty years, and the current population is between 100 and 150 pregnant women.

Using the philopatric nature of green turtles

This update is based on the release of captive turtles in Grand Cayman, often after being kept in captivity for a year in order to increase survival. This design employs a strong philopatric nature of turtles: that is, the intention to return to the beaches where they were born or released to lay their eggs.

CTF green turtle populations from adults and juveniles and eggs collected from various Atlantic nations. “So the first -born farmers are genetically diverse, as seen in the study,” Carlos Carreras said. In this regard, Marta Pascual reiterated that “it is important to consider the culture of the models used for birth control in each case in order to avoid the negative consequences associated with it. Fortunately, These unfortunate events were not known to previous generations, but we. It is impossible to determine whether they will be seen by future generations. “

A look at turtles from two islands in the Cayman Islands

To evaluate the impact of the program, the researchers collected genetic and ecological data from populations on two islands (Grand Cayman and Little Cayman) into three different levels of population. assisted recovery process. With knowledge gained from the production of turtles, turtle nests, and genetic data from agriculture, researchers can see the relationship between turtles and the evolutionary processes that led to their development. Two new populations on the two islands.

The results confirmed the impact of both populations on the captive care program, as 79.4% of the turtles in Little Cayman and 90.3% of those in Grand Cayman were related to parents who were discharged from the program. . However, they also noticed that the population was growing rapidly. “The common effects of genetic drift have led to genetic variation in the population, even though it started with the same reintroduction program. In addition, we did not see any adverse effects associated with reintroduction into the population. biological well -being of humans in new populations, ”look at the researchers.

According to the authors, the philopatric approach is intended to “increase this difference in the future by maintaining populations across generations.”

Re -apply to the program in other ways

The results of the study shed light on the use of colonization -assisted turtles and the possibility of obtaining traits with similar characteristics – long -term, migratory and philopatric – when the turtle was damaged. living their lives. However, researchers hope to evaluate other measurements first. “We need to think about whether there are care options in place, more cost -effective and fewer risks, rather than considering a supportive outreach program,” Carlos Carreras said.

For turtles, the main considerations for captivity are related to animal husbandry and related concerns, the possibility of transmitting diseases by releasing the animals from a farm. strength in the forest, high prices, and low rates of capture in wild nest numbers. The authors believe that it is not necessary to change ex situ plans, but to help maintain in place, and that the latter should be considered as a source of care management rather than using ex situ care plans. difficult situ, price and controversy.

“In any case, assisted colonization should go hand in hand with scientific focus, at developmental stages such as implementation time and long -term focus, in order to minimize and to the detrimental effects of wildlife and increase prosperity. “

The authors report that these effects are associated with the first generation of wild offspring. Therefore, genetic testing needs to be done again in the future “because the negative effects of inbreeding can be seen in future generations,” they said.

The Cayman Islands sea turtles return from the side

More information:
Anna Barbanti et al, The development of assisted habitat for sea turtles: building new populations in a biodiversity crisis, Nature Communications (2022). DOI: 10.1038 / s41467-022-29232-5

Presented by the University of Barcelona

Directions: Building a large number of new sea turtles in a biodiversity crisis (2022, March 28) Retrieved 28 March 2022 from turtle-populations-biodiversity-crisis.html

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