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Nesting Patterns of Loggerhead Sea Turtles (Caretta caretta): Development of a Multiple Regression Model Tested in North Carolina, USA

Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of North Carolina Wilmington, 601 South College Road, Wilmington, NC 28403, USA
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ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2018, 7(9), 348; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi7090348
Received: 16 July 2018 / Revised: 31 July 2018 / Accepted: 20 August 2018 / Published: 25 August 2018
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Abstract

Numerous environmental conditions may influence when a female Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) selects a nesting site. Limited research has used Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and statistical analysis to study sea turtle spatial patterns and temporal trends. Therefore, the goals of this research were to identify areas that were most prevalent for nesting and to test social and environmental variables to create a nesting suitability predictive model. Data were analyzed at all barrier island beaches in North Carolina, USA (515 km) and several variables were statistically significant: distance to hardened structures, beach nourishment, house density, distance to inlets, and beach elevation, slope, and width. Interestingly, variables that were not significant were population density, proximity to the Gulf Stream, and beach aspect. Several statistical techniques were tested and Negative Binomial Distribution produced good regional results while Geographically Weighted Regression models successfully predicted the number of nests with an average of 75% of the variance explained. Therefore, the combination of traditional and spatial statistics provided insightful predictive modeling results that may be incorporated into management strategies and may have important implications for the designation of critical Loggerhead nesting habitats. View Full-Text
Keywords: sea turtle; predictive model; geographically weighted regression; negative binomial distribution; North Carolina sea turtle; predictive model; geographically weighted regression; negative binomial distribution; North Carolina
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Halls, J.N.; Randall, A.L. Nesting Patterns of Loggerhead Sea Turtles (Caretta caretta): Development of a Multiple Regression Model Tested in North Carolina, USA. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2018, 7, 348.

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