Assessment of Sea-Turtle Status and Trends

Integrating Demography and Abundance

Committee on the Review of Sea-Turtle Population Assessment Methods

Ocean Studies Board

Division on Earth and Life Studies

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

Washington, D.C.
www.nap.edu



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A ssessment of Sea-Turtle Status and Trends Integrating Demography and Abundance Committee on the Review of Sea-Turtle Population Assessment Methods Ocean Studies Board Division on Earth and Life Studies

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Govern­ ing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineer­ ing, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Contract No. DG133R08CQ0062 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admin­ istration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number­13: 978­0­309­15255­6 International Standard Book Number­10: 0­309­15255­0 Cover: The front cover images include five of the six species of sea turtles found in U.S. waters (from top to bottom and left to right): leatherback (provided by Guillaume Feuillet, Association Kwata), Kemp’s ridley (provided by Selina Heppell, Oregon State University), hawksbill (provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), olive ridley (provided by Guillaume Feuillet, Association Kwata), and green (provided by Claire Fackler, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). The back cover image is the sixth species, which is the loggerhead (provided by William Precht, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624­6242 or (202) 334­3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2010 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self­perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal govern ­ ment on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its mem ­ bers, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advis ­ ing the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in pro ­ viding services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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COMMITTEE ON THE REvIEW OF SEA-TuRTLE POPuLATION ASSESSMENT METHODS KAREN A. BJORNDAL (Chair), University of Florida, Gainesville BRIAN W. BOWEN, University of Hawaii MILANI CHALOuPKA, Ecological Modelling Services Pty Ltd, St. Lucia, Australia LARRY B. CROWDER, Duke University, Beaufort, North Carolina SELINA S. HEPPELL, Oregon State University, Corvallis CYNTHIA M. JONES, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia MOLLY E. LuTCAvAGE, University of Massachusetts, Amherst ANDREW R. SOLOW, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts BLAIR E. WITHERINGTON, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Melbourne Beach Staff JODI BOSTROM, Associate Program Officer SuSAN PARK, Senior Program Officer (until December 31, 2009) DAvID POLICANSKY, Scholar JEREMY JuSTICE, Senior Program Assistant NORMAN GROSSBLATT, Senior Editor v

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OCEAN STuDIES BOARD DONALD F. BOESCH (Chair), University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Cambridge EDWARD A. BOYLE, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge JORGE E. CORREDOR, University of Puerto Rico, Mayag�ez KEITH R. CRIDDLE, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Juneau JODY W. DEMING, University of Washington, Seattle MARY (MISSY) H. FEELEY, ExxonMobil Exploration Company, Houston, Texas ROBERT HALLBERG, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Princeton University, New Jersey DEBRA HERNANDEZ, Hernandez and Company, Isle of Palms, South Carolina ROBERT A. HOLMAN, Oregon State University, Corvallis KIHO KIM, American University, Washington, DC BARBARA A. KNuTH, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York ROBERT A. LAWSON, Science Applications International Corporation, San Diego, California GEORGE I. MATSuMOTO, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, California JAY S. PEARLMAN, The Boeing Company (retired), Port Angeles, Washington ANDREW A. ROSENBERG, Conservation International, Arlington, Virginia DANIEL L. RuDNICK, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California ROBERT J. SERAFIN, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado ANNE M. TREHu, Oregon State University, Corvallis PETER L. TYACK, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts DAWN J. WRIGHT, Oregon State University, Corvallis JAMES A. YODER, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts Staff SuSAN ROBERTS, Director CLAuDIA MENGELT, Senior Program Officer DEBORAH GLICKSON, Program Officer MARTHA MCCONNELL, Program Officer JODI BOSTROM, Associate Program Officer vi

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SHuBHA BANSKOTA, Financial Associate PAMELA LEWIS, Administrative Coordinator SHERRIE FORREST, Research Associate HEATHER CHIARELLO, Senior Program Assistant JEREMY JuSTICE, Senior Program Assistant vii

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Acknowledgments This report was greatly enhanced by the participants of the meetings held as part of the committee’s study. The committee acknowledges the efforts of those who gave presentations at meetings: Steve Murawski (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), Barbara Schroeder (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), Sandy MacPherson (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), Earl Possardt (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), Yan Jiao (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University), Mark Maunder (Inter­American Tropical Tuna Commission), Paul Wade (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), and Bryan Wallace (Conservation International). Their talks helped to set the stage for fruit ­ ful discussions in the closed sessions that followed. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide can­ did and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: RICHARD T. DuRRETT, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York MASAMI FuJIWARA, Texas A&M University, College Station ix

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x ACKNOWLEDGMENTS MATTHEW GODFREY, Sea Turtle Project, Beaufort, North Carolina BRENDAN GODLEY, University of Exeter, Tremough Campus, United Kingdom MARTÍN HALL, Inter­American Tropical Tuna Commission, La Jolla, California WILLIAM L. KENDALL, U.S. Geological Survey, Laurel, Maryland JACK MuSICK, College of William and Mary, Gloucester, Virginia EuGENIA NARO-MACIEL, American Museum of Natural History, New York MICHAEL ORBACH, Duke University, Beaufort, North Carolina JOSEPH M. QuATTRO, University of South Carolina, Columbia H. BRADLEY SHAFFER, University of California, Davis MELISSA SNOvER, National Park Service, Denali Park, Alaska PATRICK SuLLIvAN, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York JEANETTE WYNEKEN, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton Although the reviewers listed above have provided many construc­ tive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the con­ clusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by John J. Magnuson (University of Wisconsin) and Robert T. Paine (University of Washington). Appointed by the National Research Council, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

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Contents Summary 1 Introduction and Background, 1 Aspects of Sea­Turtle Assessments, 4 The Committee’s Principal Conclusions and Recommendations, 7 1 Introduction 11 What is an Assessment?, 18 Assessment Case Studies, 22 The Present Study, 26 Report Organization, 27 2 units of Assessment 29 Introduction, 29 Genetic­Analysis Techniques, 31 Metapopulations and Mixed Stocks, 35 Distribution, 38 Conclusions and Recommendations, 41 3 Conceptual Model of Sea-Turtle Abundance and Demography 43 Conceptual Background, 44 Conceptual Model for Population Assessment, 46 xi

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xii CONTENTS 4 Abundance and Trends 55 Review of Techniques for Measuring Population Trends at Nesting Beaches, 55 Review of Techniques for Measuring Population Trends in Oceanic and Neritic Habitats, 59 Conclusions and Recommendations, 68 5 Demographic Rates 73 Breeding Rates and Adult­Recruitment Probabilities, 74 Fecundity, 75 Survival Probabilities, 79 Dispersal Probabilities, 81 Somatic Growth and Age at Sexual Maturity, 83 Sex Ratios, 84 Density Dependence, 84 Strandings Data, 86 Recommendations, 89 6 Integrating Demographic Information with Abundance Estimates 91 Models for Population Assessment, 92 Tools for Assessment, 92 Trend Evaluation and Extinction Risk, 93 Assessment Procedures for Scientific Review of Data and Models, 100 Conclusions, 106 Recommendations, 107 7 Cross-Cutting Issues: Data, Education, Permits, and Coordination 109 Data Management, 109 Education and Capacity Building, 114 Allocation of Management and Research Funds, 116 Permitting, 116 Recommendations, 118 8 Conclusions and Recommendations 121 References 125 Appendixes A Brief History of Alternative Genetic Markers 155 B Population-Structure Models 157 C Committee and Staff Biographies 159