Research and conservation of seabirds, sea turtles, pelagic fishes and their interactions
Tortue d’Arguin: Green turtles in the Parc National du Banc D’Arguin
The Parc National du Banc d’Arguin (PNBA), in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, was established in 1976, to help preserve the ecosystem of the region. The PNBA covers an area of over 11 000 km2, comprising of sand dunes, coastal swamps, sandbanks and shallow marine systems, creating a wildlife haven for birds, sea turtles, fish and marine mammals as well as being home to the Imraguen. The PNBA faces many challenges both anthropogenic and natural.
Preliminary work tracking green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) from Guinea-Bissau, indicates connectivity to the PNBA. Thus, as part of a MAVA Foundation collaborative project, between ISPA and the PNBA, our aim is to determine the importance of the PNBA for green sea turtles in a global context, identify threats and increase conservation capacity.
To do so, we aim to:
- Conduct in water studies and satellite telemetry targeting juvenile green sea turtles to determine habitat use within the PNBA. This can help inform growth rates, in addition to identifying anthropogenic threats.
- Use satellite telemetry on adult turtles to determine migratory paths from the PNBA to nesting grounds and further elucidate connectivity within West Africa.
- Use genetic markers to establish the origin of sea turtles of all ages foraging in the Banc d’Arguin and the strength of connections to rookeries in an Atlantic wide context.
- Develop and deliver training courses, in partnership with the PNBA and national academic institutions, to build capacity amongst university students, technicians, managers and local communities.
We envisage to use our findings to help inform new management strategies for the PNBA to help conserve this vital habitat and sea turtles.