Marine Biology

, Volume 161, Issue 11, pp 2659–2668 | Cite as

Estimates of vital rates for a declining loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) subpopulation: implications for management

  • Margaret M. LamontEmail author
  • I. Fujisaki
  • Raymond R. Carthy
Original Paper


Because subpopulations can differ geographically, genetically and/or phenotypically, using data from one subpopulation to derive vital rates for another, while often unavoidable, is not optimal. We used a two-state open robust design model to analyze a 14-year dataset (1998–2011) from the St. Joseph Peninsula, Florida (USA; 29.748°, −85.400°) which is the densest loggerhead (Caretta caretta) nesting beach in the Northern Gulf of Mexico subpopulation. For these analyses, 433 individuals were marked of which only 7.2 % were observed re-nesting in the study area in subsequent years during the study period. Survival was estimated at 0.86 and is among the highest estimates for all subpopulations in the Northwest Atlantic population. The robust model estimated a nesting assemblage size that ranged from 32 to 230 individuals each year with an annual average of 110. The model estimates indicated an overall population decline of 17 %. The results presented here for this nesting group represent the first estimates for this subpopulation. These data provide managers with information specific to this subpopulation that can be used to develop recovery plans and conduct subpopulation-specific modeling exercises explicit to the challenges faced by turtles nesting in this region.


Clutch Size Vital Rate Loggerhead Turtle Nest Beach Nest Group 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The Department of Defense, Eglin Air Force Base provided funding for this project. We are especially grateful to B. Hagedorn, B. Miller and K. Gault from EAFB for their continued support. We acknowledge M. Schaefbauer, E. McMichael, R. Scarpino, B. Stephens and C. Hackett for overseeing field duties and the countless interns who have assisted in data collection. This work was conducted under the State of Florida Marine Turtle Permit #094 issued to R. Carthy. All turtle handling and sampling was performed according to the University of Florida’s Institutional Animal Care Protocols (IACUC-A621). The authors declare that we have no conflicts of interest. Any use of trade, product or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (outside the USA) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret M. Lamont
    • 1
    Email author
  • I. Fujisaki
    • 2
  • Raymond R. Carthy
    • 3
  1. 1.Southeast Ecological Science CenterUS Geological Survey (USGS)GainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Wildlife Ecology and ConservationFt. Lauderdale Research and Education CenterDavieUSA
  3. 3.Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, US Geological SurveyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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