website are excellent examples. Besides providing valuable information, the symposium website also allowed participants to register and submit paper and poster abstracts online, which are still available for visitors to browse. This same sharing of information can be accomplished with research and manuscript preparation or for electronic dissemination of materials and reports that many interested people would usually never see.

Currently available technologies, and the many more emerging everyday, can be used to facilitate collaboration and distribution efforts around the world. It is time their power was brought to bear in helping us solve many of the elusive problems we face in the study and conservation of sea turtles. LAWRENCE, S. & C.L. GILES. 1998. Searching the World Wide Web. Science 280:98-100.

Green Turtle Nesting at Akyatan Beach, Turkey, 1994-1997 Guido Gerosa1, Monica Aureggi1, Paolo Casale1 & Sedat V. Yerli2 1

CHELON Marine Turtle Conservation and Research Program, Viale Val Padana 134/B, I-00141 Roma, Italy (E-mail: [email protected]) 2 Department of Biology, Hacettepe University, P.O.Box 40, TR-06692 Ankara, Turkey

Green turtle (Chelonia mydas) nesting sites in the Mediterranean are restricted to the extreme east of the region, with most nesting occurring in Cyprus and Turkey (Baran & Kasparek 1989; Broderick et al. 1997; Demetropoulos & Hadjichristophorou 1995). Akyatan beach is situated in the Çukurova region, on the south-east coast of Turkey. Since 1994, the Akyatan lake area has been a protected area managed by the National Parks Division and the Foresters Corps of Adana. The beach, composed of fine sand, has a rather homogeneous aspect throughout its 19.7 km length. The transverse profile is relatively flat and the 60-120 m wide beach leads to a vegetated dune system backed by a forestry plantation (Acacia sp.). In 1988, this beach was identified as an important nesting site for the green turtle (Baran & Kasparek 1989) and the first systematic survey of nesting activity based on 13 km of the beach was conducted in 1992 (Macdonald & Brown 1992). In 1994, a long-term monitoring project was initiated at Akyatan Beach (Gerosa et al. 1995a, 1995b, 1996, 1997; Yerli & Canbolat 1998). Over the past four years, daily surveys, recording all nests, have been conducted during the nesting season, over varying periods: in 1994, from the 10th June to the 30th August; in 1995, from the 12th June to the 25th August; in 1996, from 26th July to the 31st August and in 1997, from the 7th July to the 30th September. At the beginning of each study period, nests already present on the beach were recorded. Subsequent nests were then identified during daily surveys. Nesting is thought

to occur from late May until August (Gerosa et al., 1995a). Surveying allowed us to estimate the total number of nests along the beach with the exception of the 1996 survey, which was conducted for a short period, late in the nesting season. However, nests laid previously in that season had been recorded by a team from Hacettepe University (Yerli & Canbolat 1998). Although data were collected using different methodologies, it is thought that comparison can be made between years to evaluate the variation in the number of nests over five seasons (Figure 1). Although large inter-annual variations were recorded in the total number of green turtle nests, these data confirm Akyatan as the single largest green turtle rookery in the Mediterranean. Green turtle nesting populations are characterised by highly variable census counts in successive breeding seasons (Limpus 1996), therefore long-term surveys are essential to judge the status of a given population. According to Limpus (1996), even a decade of observation may not give a reliable evaluation. The variation among years in the number of nests at this site further highlights the need for long-term monitoring of nesting beaches. The inter-annual variation in nesting numbers at Akyatan and northern Cyprus appears to be analogous, both sites having high nesting numbers in 1994 and 1995, with relatively low numbers in 1996 and 1997 (Broderick et al. 1997). Similarly, in south-east Asia, green turtle populations among adjacent stocks have been shown

Marine Turtle Newsletter No. 81, 1998 - Page 4

600

504

496

500

231 300

179 No Survey

No. Nests

400

120

200

100

0 1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

Figure 1. Total number of green turtle nests per year at Akyatan beach, Turkey. (Data sources: 1992: Macdonald & Brown (1992); 1994: Gerosa et al. (1995a) and Yerli & Demirayak (1996); 1995: Gerosa et al. (1995b); 1996: Yerli & Canbolat (1998); 1997: Gerosa et al. (1997)).

to demonstrate similarity in annual fluctuations in breeding numbers (Limpus 1996). As little is known of the population biology of the green turtle in the Mediterranean, it is vital that continued monitoring be undertaken at Akyatan beach and other important sites in the region. Information derived will allow a more accurate assessment of the size and long term trends of the regional populations of this species. BARAN, I. & M. KASPAREK. 1989. Marine Turtles Turkey: status survey 1988 and recommendations for conservation and management. WWF, Kasparek Verlag, Heidelberg. 123pp. BRODERICK, A.C., B.J. GODLEY, A. KELLY & A. M C GOWAN. 1997. Glasgow University Turtle Conservation Expedition 1997: Expedition report. Marine Turtle Research Group, Graham Kerr Building, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, Scotland. 23pp. DEMETROPOULOS, A. & M. HADJICHRISTOPHOROU. 1995. Manual on marine turtle conservation in the Mediterranean. UNEP (MAP) SPA/IUCN/CWS/Fisheries Department, MANRE, Cyprus. GEROSA, G., P. CASALE & S.V. YERLI. 1995a. Report on a sea turtle nesting beach study (Akyatan, Turkey), 1994. International Congress of Chelonian Conservation (SOPTOM Ed.). 6-10 July 1995. Gonfaron, France. pp. 173180.

GEROSA, G., S.V. YERLI & M. AUREGGI. 1995b. Report on a sea turtle nesting beach study (Akyatan, Turkey), 1995. CHELON Marine Turtle Conservation and Research Program, Tethys Research Institute, Viale Val Padana, 134/ B, I-00141, Rome, Italy. 9pp. GEROSA, G., S.V. YERLI, F. MAZZELLA & S. LAPIS. 1996. Report on sea turtle nesting beach study (Akyatan, Turkey), 1996. CHELON Marine Turtle Conservation and Research Program (address above). 7 pp. GEROSA, G., S.V. YERLI, M. AUREGGI & C. CONTI. 1997. Report on a sea turtle nesting beach study (Akyatan, Turkey), 1997. CHELON Marine Turtle Conservation and Research Program (address above). 9 pp. LIMPUS, C.J. 1996. Myths, reality and limitations of green turtle census data. Proceedings of the 15th Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation (Compilers: J.A. Keinath, D.E. Barnard, J.A. Musick & B.A. Bell). NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFSSEFSC-387: 170-173. MACDONALD, D.W. & L. BROWN. 1992. Control of turtle nest predation, Turkey, 1992. Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford. 58 pp. YERLI, S.V. & A.F. CANBOLAT. 1998. Results of a 1996 survey of Chelonia in Turkey. Marine Turtle Newsletter 79: 9-11. YERLI, S.V. & F. DEMIRAYAK. 1996. Marine turtles in Turkey: a survey on nesting site status. DHKD, CMS Report. No: 96/4, Istanbul. 133pp.

Marine Turtle Newsletter No. 81, 1998 - Page 5

Green Turtle Nesting at Akyatan Beach, Turkey, 1994 ...

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