Conservation Genetics

, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp 1069–1083 | Cite as

Population structure enhances perspectives on regional management of the western Indian Ocean green turtle

  • Jérôme Bourjea
  • Jeanne A. Mortimer
  • Julie Garnier
  • Gladys Okemwa
  • Brendan J. Godley
  • George Hughes
  • Mayeul Dalleau
  • Claire Jean
  • Stéphane Ciccione
  • Delphine Muths
Research Article

Abstract

To refine our understanding of the spatial structure of the green turtle (Chelonia mydas) populations in the South West Indian Ocean (SWIO), we analysed patterns of mitochondrial DNA (396 base pairs control region fragment) variation among 171 samples collected at five distinct locations (Kenya, Northern Mozambique, and three locations in the Republic of Seychelles: the Granitic, Amirantes, and Farquhar groups) and compared them to genetic data (n = 288), previously collected from 10 southern locations in the SWIO. We also analysed post-nesting satellite tracks (n = 4) from green turtles nesting in the Amirantes group. Pairwise comparisons of haplotype frequencies showed significant genetic differentiation amongst rookeries and suggest that the SWIO hosts two main genetic stocks of nesting green turtles that could themselves be divided in two sub-stocks that still need to be confirmed: A. the Southern Mozambique Channel, that could be composed of two sub-stocks (a1) Europa and (a2) Juan de Nova, and B. the Northern SWIO (N-SWIO) comprising two sub-stocks (b1) the Seychelles archipelago stock—SEY; and (b2) the remaining Northern SWIO rookeries. The newly revealed differentiation of the Seychelles population is supported by restricted migration of females tracked from the Amirantes group suggesting relatively limited links with other regional stocks. We hypothesize that this differentiation could be due to local and regional current patterns and to the role of the Indo-Pacific Barrier as a genetic break, enhanced during periods of sea level decrease associated with a rare but continuous flow of hatchlings and young juveniles from Western Australia.

Keywords

Indian Ocean mtDNA Satellite tracking Phylogeography Management unit Chelonia mydas 

Supplementary material

10592_2015_723_MOESM1_ESM.doc (89 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 89 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jérôme Bourjea
    • 1
    • 8
  • Jeanne A. Mortimer
    • 2
    • 10
    • 11
    • 12
  • Julie Garnier
    • 3
  • Gladys Okemwa
    • 4
    • 9
  • Brendan J. Godley
    • 5
  • George Hughes
    • 6
  • Mayeul Dalleau
    • 7
  • Claire Jean
    • 7
  • Stéphane Ciccione
    • 7
  • Delphine Muths
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer, IfremerDélégation de La Réunion, Rue Jean BerthoLe Port CedexFrance
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  3. 3.The Zoological Society of LondonLondonUK
  4. 4.Kenya Sea Turtle Conservation Committee (KESCOM)MombasaKenya
  5. 5.Marine Turtle Research Group, Centre for Ecology and ConservationUniversity of ExeterPenrynUK
  6. 6.HowickSouth Africa
  7. 7.KELONIA, l’observatoire des tortues marines de La RéunionSaint LeuFrance
  8. 8.University of Reunion Island, FRE3560 INEE-CNRSSaint DenisFrance
  9. 9.Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research InstituteMombasaKenya
  10. 10.VictoriaSeychelles
  11. 11.Save Our Seas Foundation D’Arros Research CentreD’Arros IslandSeychelles
  12. 12.Island Conservation SocietyVictoriaSeychelles

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