Characterization of Habitat for Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) in Los Roques Archipelago National Park, Venezuela
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Information on the locations for feeding, reproductions, and resting, are essential to effectively protect sea turtle populations and implement conservation efforts. This type of ecological information is critically important for hawksbill turtle conservation in Los Roques Archipelago National Park (LRANP) where turtles have been declining in spite of habitat protection efforts. The goal of this research was to produce a benthic habitat map of LRANP employing in situ visual surveys, remote sensing and geographic information system techniques, and to spatially characterize sea turtle occupancy and patterns of usage by habitat type. Between June and August of 2008, turtle behavior and habitat use were recorded during 159 h of observation, comprising 46 sighting events (n = 20 juveniles, n = 26 female adults). Observed activities were grouped into 4 categories: foraging, resting, swimming, and reproductive behavior. The benthic habitat at each turtle sighting was recorded as one of three categories: coral reef, sand or marine vegetation. Results suggest that the population of turtles within LRANP is comprised primarily of female adults and juvenile individuals and that coral reef is the most important habitat for this species. The most important foraging area in the atoll is a coral patch reef that connects Dos Mosquises Sur and Dos Mosquises Norte. The data in this thesis have been made available in digital and map form to the managers of LRANP for management purposes.
Hunt, Luciana E. (2009). Characterization of Habitat for Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) in Los Roques Archipelago National Park, Venezuela. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from