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Spatio-temporal analysis and causes of sea turtle strandings in Chile between 2009 and 2021

4:45 a 5:00 pm, Centro de Estudios Científicos

Mario Alvarado-Rybak1 | Katherine Ramírez-Meza2 | Camila Díaz-Mancilla3 | Pablo Valladares-Faúndez2 | Frederick Toro4 | Claudio Azat5

  1. Núcleo de Ciencias Aplicadas en Ciencias Veterinarias y Agronómicas, Universidad de las Américas; 2. Universidad de Tarapacá; 3. Universidad Andrés Bello; 4. Universidad Santo Tomás; 5. Centro de Investigación para la Sustentabilidad, Universidad Andrés Bello.

Ponente: Mario Alvarado-Rybak,

Marine environments cover approximately 71% of the earth’s surface, which are intensively exploited by humans for food provisioning, transportation and recreation. Sea turtles are excellent sentinel species to assess marine ecosystems health, because they are long-living animals and are widely distributed in the world’s oceans, sometimes living in proximity to humans. Sea turtles are susceptible to numerous anthropogenic threats, being the most important fisheries bycatch, boat collision, human use or consumption of turtles and their eggs, and infectious diseases. The aim of this study was to characterize sea turtles strandings (STS) patterns and describe their fine scale spatiotemporal dynamics by multiple approaches. We analyzed 477 STS for spatiotemporal patterns from January 2009 to December 2021 in Chile. The high-risk areas of STS were identified in northern area, as well as a greater number of statistically significant events compared to the central and southern areas. Regarding sea turtle species, it is evident that the species with the highest number of strandings are Chelonia mydas (50.3%) and Lepidochelys olivacea (48%), where they are directly related because they are found in shallow coastal areas, therefore, they are species that interact with artisanal or coastal fisheries, where they would be areas of easy sighting, but also of high probability of bycatch. Also, increases in stranding were evidenced in each year of study and seasonal trends were observed in the months of August to November. The main causes of STS in Chile were by anthropogenic interaction (e.g., artisanal fishery), and predation. It is a cause of concern that STS events in Chile have been increasing consistently over the last decade, therefore, this study provides an important source of information to carry out conservation and management measures to know STS causes and enhance education and oversight plans regarding fisheries who work in those areas.

Mar 12:00 am - 12:00 am