Marine Turtle Population Structure
Characterizing marine turtle population structure for effective conservation and management efforts
We integrate our strong expertise in conservation biology, systematics, and population genetics to provide the best information possible to identify population structure. We collaborate closely with the expertise in other research programs, especially the Marine Mammal Genetics Program and Marine Turtle Ecology & Assessment Program.
Research is supported by our state-of-the-art conservation genetics laboratory and genetics tissue archive. The latter houses a continually growing world-wide sample collection enriched by international scientific collaborations. The genetics archive, the genetics laboratory, and the database operated by our group provide the infrastructure necessary to drive the management science and ensure high-quality data for current and future needs. We also develop new molecular techniques and innovative analytical approaches designed specifically to improve capacity to define stock structure and identify management units (MUs) for conservation. The Marine Turtle Genetics Program supports and coordinates regional studies of sea turtle stock structure to ensure that datasets can be combined. We collaborate with numerous research groups in the U.S. and foreign countries to promote a collaborative framework for disseminating information and standardizing protocols across labs. The Marine Turtle Genetics Program has previously had great success establishing and updating rookery databases that are available to the broader research community for both loggerhead turtles (see Shamblin et al. PLOS 2014) and green turtles (see Jensen et al. 2015).
Examples of Stock Structure Studies/Units to Conserve/Endangered Species Act
- Sea Turtle Global Recovery Plans: green turtles, loggerheads, leatherbacks – Distinct Population Segments
- Fine scale Pacific Management Units: green, loggerhead, leatherback, Hawksbill
- Fine scale Atlantic Management Units: leatherback, loggerhead, hawksbill )Link - publications)