Marine Biology

, Volume 161, Issue 6, pp 1455–1466 | Cite as

Protected species use of a coastal marine migratory corridor connecting marine protected areas

  • Kellie L. Pendoley
  • Gail SchofieldEmail author
  • Paul A. Whittock
  • Daniel Ierodiaconou
  • Graeme C. Hays
Original Paper


The establishment of protected corridors linking the breeding and foraging grounds of many migratory species remains deficient, particularly in the world’s oceans. For example, Australia has recently established a network of Commonwealth Marine Reserves, supplementing existing State reserves, to protect a wide range of resident and migratory marine species; however, the routes used by mobile species to access these sites are often unknown. The flatback marine turtle (Natator depressus) is endemic to the continental shelf of Australia, yet information is not available about how this species uses the marine area. We used a geospatial approach to delineate a coastal corridor from 73 adult female flatback postnesting migratory tracks from four rookeries along the north-west coast of Australia. A core corridor of 1,150 km length and 30,800 km2 area was defined, of which 52 % fell within 11 reserves, leaving 48 % (of equivalent size to several Commonwealth Reserves) of the corridor outside of the reserve network. Despite limited data being available for other marine wildlife in this region, humpback whale migratory tracks overlapped with 96 % of the core corridor, while the tracks of three other species overlapped by 5–10 % (blue whales, olive ridley turtles, whale sharks). The overlap in the distribution ranges of at least 20 other marine vertebrates (dugong, cetaceans, marine turtles, sea snakes, crocodiles, sharks) with the corridor also imply potential use. In conclusion, this study provides valuable information towards proposing new locations requiring protection, as well as identifying high-priority network linkages between existing marine protected areas.


Kernel Density Estimate Marine Reserve Humpback Whale Marine Turtle Whale Shark 
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.



We thank Chevron Australia (D. Moro and R. Lagdon) and BHP Billiton (S. Mavrick) for the funding and logistical support for this project. Thanks to staff and volunteers at Pendoley Environmental for field support; notably, P. Tod, R. Murliss, N. Sillem, K. Ball, L. Claessen, T. Sunderland and N. Fitzsimmons. We thank P. Tod of Crackpots Ltd for supply of harnesses and attachment advice. Satellite attachment was conducted under the Department of Environment and Conservation Licence numbers: SF005670, SF006705, SF006706, SF007088, SF007143, SF007144, SF007641 and SF007643. GIS laboratory facilities at Deakin University, Warrnambool, Victoria were used for spatial analyses. We also thank the anonymous reviewers for their constructive suggestions to improve the manuscript.

Supplementary material

227_2014_2433_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.4 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1448 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kellie L. Pendoley
    • 1
  • Gail Schofield
    • 2
    Email author
  • Paul A. Whittock
    • 1
  • Daniel Ierodiaconou
    • 2
  • Graeme C. Hays
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Pendoley Environmental Pty LtdBooragoonAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Integrative Ecology, School of Life and Environmental SciencesDeakin UniversityWarrnamboolAustralia
  3. 3.Department of BiosciencesSwansea UniversitySwanseaUK

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