Onboard surveys results for the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) and the green turtle (Chelonia mydas) in the Finike (Anaximander) Seamounts region and adjacent waters
Doğan Sözbilen, Arda M. Tonay, Ayaka Amaha Öztürk ,Uğur Özsandıkçı, Ayhan Dede, Yakup Kaska
ORCID IDs: D.S. 0000-0002-2267-1636; A.M.T. 0000-0003-2718-9328; A.A.Ö. 0000-0003-2281-7372; U.Ö 0000-0002-7246-5494; A.D. 0000-0002-7712-615X; Y.K. 0000-0001-5169-8216
Sea Turtle Research, Rescue and Rehabilitation Center (DEKAMER), Pamukkale University, Denizli, TÜRKİYE
Department of Veterinary, Acıpayam Vocational School, Pamukkale University, Denizli, TÜRKİYE
Faculty of Aquatic Sciences, Istanbul University, Onaltı Mart Şehitleri Cad. No: 2, 34134, Fatih, Istanbul, TÜRKİYE
Turkish Marine Research Foundation (TUDAV), P.O. Box: 10, Beykoz, Istanbul, TÜRKİYE
Faculty of Fisheries, Sinop University, Sinop, TÜRKİYE
Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Pamukkale University, Denizli, TÜRKİYE
Identification of key habitats of migratory marine megafauna species is of great importance, especially for the conservation of threatened species. In this study, the occurrence and distribution of sea turtles in coastal and offshore areas were investigated for the first time by offshore onboard observations in the Finike Seamounts (Anaximander) Specially Protection Area and its adjacent waters. The study was carried out in spring and autumn in 2021 and two sea turtle species known to breed in Türkiye, the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) and the green turtle (Chelonia mydas) were observed. Of the total of 11 individuals observed, five of them were identified as the loggerhead turtle and two were identified as the green turtle. The species of four individuals could not be determined. The detection of individuals both during and after the breeding period for both species indicates that the Finike Seamounts Specially Protection Area and adjacent waters host sea turtle species throughout the year. The results of the study show that coastal and offshore observations should be continued systematically in order to make conservation measures specific to the region and to determine the abundance of both species in the region.
Keywords: Offshore habitats, eastern Mediterranean Sea, marine turtles, in-water observation, migratory species
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