Special Issue "Remote Sensing Applications for Sea Turtle Conservation"

A special issue of Remote Sensing (ISSN 2072-4292). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Remote Sensing".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. John F. Weishampel
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biology, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL 32816, USA
Interests: landscape ecology; ecological modeling; geospatial analysis
Dr. Simona A. Ceriani
Website
Guest Editor
Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Saint Petersburg, FL 33701, USA
Interests: marine turtles; nesting ecology; foraging ecology; conservation biology; population assessment; migration; telemetry; intrinsic markers
Dr. Mariana M.P.B. Fuentes
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA
Interests: marine turtles; conservation planning; spatial pattern analysis; biologging; impact assessment; ecological modeling

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sea turtles represent a taxonomic reptile superfamily of long-lived, highly-migratory keystone species that are designated as threatened and endangered. Their wide geographic distribution occupying pelagic, coastal, and beach habitats lends itself to a diversity of spatiotemporal remote sensing techniques and analyses to decipher their somewhat cryptic, complex lifestyles and to assist with their stewardship and conservation. Recent environmental changes such as those associated with climate, coastal development, fishing, and marine and atmospheric pollution have impacted the behaviors and populations of sea turtle species.

For this Special Issue, we seek innovative approaches that use remote sensing to collect biological and environmental data that elucidate sea turtle ecology and define their dynamics with conservation applications. Submissions could be based on pilot-studies or long-term datasets collected by drone, airborne, and/or satellite sensors including GPS telemetry. Example research questions could revolve around the use of sea turtle nesting, foraging, migratory habitats as depicted by LiDAR (e.g., beach topography), optical (e.g., Sargassum, seagrass habitat), Radar (e.g., ocean current), and thermal (e.g., sea surface temperature) instruments. Questions could explore connections between sea turtle behavioral patterns and environmental changes associated with natural (e.g., hurricanes, ocean oscillations) and anthropogenic (e.g., fishing practices, oil pollution) disturbances and coastal restoration (e.g., beach renourishment, artificial light management). We welcome review papers, case studies, modeling exercises, and methodological examples.

Dr. John F. Weishampel
Dr. Simona A. Ceriani
Dr. Mariana M.P.B. Fuentes
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Remote Sensing is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Marine turtles
  • Remote sensing
  • Beach, coastal, open ocean habitats
  • GPS telemetry
  • Foraging, migratory, nesting behaviors
  • Spatial pattern analyses
  • Environmental modeling
  • Conservation and management

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Quantifying the Impact of Light Pollution on Sea Turtle Nesting Using Ground-Based Imagery
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(11), 1785; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12111785 - 01 Jun 2020
Abstract
Remote sensing of anthropogenic light has substantial potential to quantify light pollution levels and understand its impact on a wide range of taxa. Currently, the use of space-borne night-time sensors for measuring the actual light pollution that animals experience is limited. This is [...] Read more.
Remote sensing of anthropogenic light has substantial potential to quantify light pollution levels and understand its impact on a wide range of taxa. Currently, the use of space-borne night-time sensors for measuring the actual light pollution that animals experience is limited. This is because most night-time satellite imagery and space-borne sensors measure the light that is emitted or reflected upwards, rather than horizontally, which is often the light that is primarily perceived by animals. Therefore, there is an important need for developing and testing ground-based remote sensing techniques and methods. In this study, we aimed to address this gap by examining the potential of ground photography to quantify the actual light pollution perceived by animals, using sea turtles as a case study. We conducted detailed ground measurements of night-time brightness around the coast of Heron Island, a coral cay in the southern Great Barrier Reef of Australia, and an important sea turtle rookery, using a calibrated DSLR Canon camera with an 8 mm fish-eye lens. The resulting hemispheric photographs were processed using the newly developed Sky Quality Camera (SQC) software to extract brightness metrics. Furthermore, we quantified the factors determining the spatial and temporal variation in night-time brightness as a function of environmental factors (e.g., moon light, cloud cover, and land cover) and anthropogenic features (e.g., artificial light sources and built-up areas). We found that over 80% of the variation in night-time brightness was explained by the percentage of the moon illuminated, moon altitude, as well as cloud cover. Anthropogenic and geographic factors (e.g., artificial lighting and the percentage of visible sky) were especially important in explaining the remaining variation in measured brightness under moonless conditions. Night-time brightness variables, land cover, and rock presence together explained over 60% of the variation in sea turtle nest locations along the coastline of Heron Island, with more nests found in areas of lower light pollution. The methods we developed enabled us to overcome the limitations of commonly used ground/space borne remote sensing techniques, which are not well suited for measuring the light pollution to which animals are exposed. The findings of this study demonstrate the applicability of ground-based remote sensing techniques in accurately and efficiently measuring night-time brightness to enhance our understanding of ecological light pollution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing Applications for Sea Turtle Conservation)
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Open AccessLetter
A Global Analysis of Anthropogenic Development of Marine Turtle Nesting Beaches
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(9), 1492; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12091492 - 08 May 2020
Abstract
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that sea levels will rise by up to 0.82 m in the next 100 years. In natural systems, coastlines would migrate landwards, but because most of the world’s human population occupies the coast, anthropogenic structures (such [...] Read more.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that sea levels will rise by up to 0.82 m in the next 100 years. In natural systems, coastlines would migrate landwards, but because most of the world’s human population occupies the coast, anthropogenic structures (such as sea walls or buildings) have been constructed to defend the shore and prevent loss of property. This can result in a net reduction in beach area, a phenomenon known as “coastal squeeze”, which will reduce beach availability for species such as marine turtles. As of yet, no global assessment of potential future coastal squeeze risk at marine turtle nesting beaches has been conducted. We used Google Earth satellite imagery to enumerate the proportion of beaches over the global nesting range of marine turtles that are backed by hard anthropogenic coastal development (HACD). Mediterranean and North American nesting beaches had the most HACD, while the Australian and African beaches had the least. Loggerhead and Kemp’s ridley turtle nesting beaches had the most HACD, and flatback and green turtles the least. Future management approaches should prioritise the conservation of beaches with low HACD to mitigate future coastal squeeze. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing Applications for Sea Turtle Conservation)
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