Marine Biology

, Volume 151, Issue 5, pp 1721–1730 | Cite as

Variation in adult annual survival probability and remigration intervals of sea turtles

  • Sebastian TroëngEmail author
  • Milani Chaloupka
Research Article


We analyzed a large dataset to quantify adult annual survival probability and remigration intervals for the Tortuguero, Costa Rica green turtle population. Annual survival probability was estimated at 0.85 (95% CI 0.75–0.92) using a recovery model and at 0.85 (95% CI 0.83–0.87) using an open robust design model. The two most common modes of remigration are 2 and 3 years. Annual survival probability is lower and remigration intervals are shorter than for other green turtle populations. Explanations for short remigration intervals include reproductive compensation due to historic population declines, availability of better quality food items, favorable environmental conditions, and short distance to the main foraging grounds. Variation in survival and remigration intervals have profound consequences for management and life history evolution. The short remigration intervals of Tortuguero green turtles partly offset mortality caused by turtle fishing in Nicaragua and mean that low juvenile survival represents a more urgent threat to the population than low adult survival. Low adult survival probability could result in selective pressure for earlier age at maturity.


Green Turtle Recovery Model Nest Beach Abundant Food Resource Lifetime Reproductive Output 
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.



Thomas Alerstam, Jan-Åke Nilsson and two anonymous reviewers provided useful comments on a draft manuscript. Emma Harrison, Jeff Mangel, Catalina Reyes, Roldán Valverde and numerous research assistants and volunteers with CCC’s Green Turtle Program are acknowledged for their hard work to patrol and tag turtles. Tag recoveries were reported by fishers and other observers. We thank Cynthia Lagueux (WCS) for collecting the vast majority of tag recovery information. Peter Eliazar’s (ACCSTR) facilitating of tag information also deserves special mention. This study was conducted under a research permit issued by the Ministry of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica and complied with all relevant national legislation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Animal EcologyLund UniversityLundSweden
  2. 2.Caribbean Conservation CorporationSan PedroCosta Rica
  3. 3.Ecological Modelling Services Pty LtdUniversity of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia
  4. 4.Regional Marine Strategies, Conservation InternationalArlingtonUSA

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