Abstract

The hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) has a circumtropical distribution and plays an important role in maintaining the health of coral reefs. Unfortunately, hawksbill populations have been decimated, and estimated numbers in the Caribbean are less than 10% of populations a century ago. The hawksbill is considered Critically Endangered, and researchers are coordinating worldwide efforts to protect this species. One country where we lack knowledge regarding hawksbills is Honduras. This study aimed to increase our understanding of hawksbill nesting ecology in Caribbean Honduras. Characteristics of hawksbill nesting activity and a nesting beach on the island of Utila were elucidated using satellite telemetry, beach profiling, vegetation surveys, beach monitoring, and nest temperature profiles. We affixed satellite transmitters to two nesting hawksbills, and found the turtles migrated to different countries. One turtle traveled 403 km to a bay in Mexico, and the other traveled 181 km to a Marine Protected Area off Belize. This study presents the first description of hawksbill migration routes from Honduras, facilitating protection efforts for turtles that traverse international waters.

LLU Discipline

Biology

Department

Biology

School

School of Medicine

First Advisor

Dunbar, Stephen G.

Second Advisor

Gibson, L. James

Third Advisor

Hayes, William K.

Fourth Advisor

Wright, Kenneth R.

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level

M.S.

Year Degree Awarded

2014

Date (Title Page)

9-2014

Language

English

Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Hawksbill Turtle--Utila--Honduras, Sea Turtles--Ecology, Home Range (Animal Geography), Coral Reef Biology--Caribbean Sea

Subject - Local

Hawksbill Sea Turtle, Coral Reefs, Nesting Ecology, Migration Routes

Type

Thesis

Page Count

110

Digital Format

PDF

Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.

Collection

Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website

http://scholarsrepository.llu.edu/etd/

Repository

Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives

Included in

Biology Commons

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