To determine habitat-use patterns of sub-adult hawksbills Eretmochelys imbricata, we conducted satellite- and acoustic-tracking of 3 turtles captured in August 2008 within Dry Tortugas National Park (DRTO), south Florida, USA, in the Gulf of Mexico; turtles ranged in size from 51.9 to 69.8 cm straight carapace length. After 263, 699, and 655 d of residence in the park, turtles migrated out of the DRTO. Within the park, core-use areas (i.e. 50% kernel density estimates) were 9.2 to 21.5 km2; all 3 turtle core-use areas overlapped in an area 6.1 km2 within a zone of the park with multiple human uses (e.g. fishing, anchoring). Two turtles migrated to Cuba and ceased transmitting after 320 and 687 tracking days; the third turtle migrated toward Key West, Florida,and ceased transmitting after 884 tracking days. The present study highlights previously unknown regional connections for hawksbills, possible turtle-harvest incidents, and fine-scale habitat use of sub-adult hawksbills within a United States National Park.
Additional publication details
Home range, habitat use, and migrations of hawksbill turtles tracked from Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida, USA