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Open AccessArticle

Seascape Genetics and the Spatial Ecology of Juvenile Green Turtles

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Section of Biology and Environmental Science, Department of Chemistry and Bioscience, Aalborg University, Fredrik Bajers Vej 7H, 9220 Aalborg East, Denmark
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Centre d’Etude et de Découverte des Tortues Marines (CEDTM), 6 Chemin Dubuisson, Appt. 5, 97436 Saint-Leu, La Réunion, France
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Mercator Ocean International, Parc Technologique du Canal, 31520 Ramonville Saint-Agne, France
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Collecte Localisation Satellite, Sustainable Management of Marine Resources, Parc Technologique du Canal, 31520 Ramonville-Saint-Agne, France
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Kelonia, L’Observatoire des Tortues Marines, 46 Rue du Général de Gaulle, 97436 Saint Leu, La Réunion, France
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Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF), Mont Fleuri, Victoria, Mahé P.O. Box 853, Seychelles
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Department of Biology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
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Conseil Départemental de Mayotte/DEDDE/SE 8 Boulevard Halidi Selemani BP101, 97600 Mamoudzou, France
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Collège de Hao, HAO 98767, Tuamotu Archipelago, French Polynesia
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Department of Environmental Sciences, Pwani University, P.O. Box 195, Kilifi 8010, Kenya
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Muséum D’histoire Naturelle de Genève, Route de Malagnou 1, 1208 Genève, Switzerland
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MARBEC, Univ Montpellier, CNRS, Ifremer, IRD, Avenue Jean Monnet, 34200 Sète, France
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IFREMER Institut Français pour l’Exploitation de la Mer, Avenue Jean Monnet, 34200 Sète, France
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Genes 2020, 11(3), 278; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11030278
Received: 31 January 2020 / Revised: 19 February 2020 / Accepted: 28 February 2020 / Published: 5 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Diversity of Marine Populations)
Understanding how ocean currents impact the distribution and connectivity of marine species, provides vital information for the effective conservation management of migratory marine animals. Here, we used a combination of molecular genetics and ocean drift simulations to investigate the spatial ecology of juvenile green turtle (Chelonia mydas) developmental habitats, and assess the role of ocean currents in driving the dispersal of green turtle hatchlings. We analyzed mitochondrial (mt)DNA sequenced from 358 juvenile green turtles, and from eight developmental areas located throughout the Southwest Indian Ocean (SWIO). A mixed stock analysis (MSA) was applied to estimate the level of connectivity between developmental sites and published genetic data from 38 known genetic stocks. The MSA showed that the juvenile turtles at all sites originated almost exclusively from the three known SWIO stocks, with a clear shift in stock contributions between sites in the South and Central Areas. The results from the genetic analysis could largely be explained by regional current patterns, as shown by the results of passive numerical drift simulations linking breeding sites to developmental areas utilized by juvenile green turtles. Integrating genetic and oceanographic data helps researchers to better understand how marine species interact with ocean currents at different stages of their lifecycle, and provides the scientific basis for effective conservation management. View Full-Text
Keywords: Chelonia mydas; green turtle; juvenile; mtDNA; drifting simulation; connectivity; mixed stock analysis; Southwest Indian Ocean Chelonia mydas; green turtle; juvenile; mtDNA; drifting simulation; connectivity; mixed stock analysis; Southwest Indian Ocean
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Jensen, M.P.; Dalleau, M.; Gaspar, P.; Lalire, M.; Jean, C.; Ciccione, S.; Mortimer, J.A.; Quillard, M.; Taquet, C.; Wamukota, A.; Leroux, G.; Bourjea, J. Seascape Genetics and the Spatial Ecology of Juvenile Green Turtles. Genes 2020, 11, 278.

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