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Global Conservation Priorities for Marine Turtles

Wallace, Bryan P.; DiMatteo, Andrew D.; Bolten, Alan B.; Chaloupka, Milani Y.; Hutchinson, Brian J.; Abreu-Grobois, F. Alberto; Mortimer, Jeanne A.; Seminoff, Jeffrey A.; Amorocho, Diego and Bjorndal, Karen A., et al. (2011) In PLoS ONE 6(9).
Abstract
Where conservation resources are limited and conservation targets are diverse, robust yet flexible priority-setting frameworks are vital. Priority-setting is especially important for geographically widespread species with distinct populations subject to multiple threats that operate on different spatial and temporal scales. Marine turtles are widely distributed and exhibit intra-specific variations in population sizes and trends, as well as reproduction and morphology. However, current global extinction risk assessment frameworks do not assess conservation status of spatially and biologically distinct marine turtle Regional Management Units (RMUs), and thus do not capture variations in population trends, impacts of threats, or necessary... (More)
Where conservation resources are limited and conservation targets are diverse, robust yet flexible priority-setting frameworks are vital. Priority-setting is especially important for geographically widespread species with distinct populations subject to multiple threats that operate on different spatial and temporal scales. Marine turtles are widely distributed and exhibit intra-specific variations in population sizes and trends, as well as reproduction and morphology. However, current global extinction risk assessment frameworks do not assess conservation status of spatially and biologically distinct marine turtle Regional Management Units (RMUs), and thus do not capture variations in population trends, impacts of threats, or necessary conservation actions across individual populations. To address this issue, we developed a new assessment framework that allowed us to evaluate, compare and organize marine turtle RMUs according to status and threats criteria. Because conservation priorities can vary widely (i.e. from avoiding imminent extinction to maintaining long-term monitoring efforts) we developed a "conservation priorities portfolio" system using categories of paired risk and threats scores for all RMUs (n = 58). We performed these assessments and rankings globally, by species, by ocean basin, and by recognized geopolitical bodies to identify patterns in risk, threats, and data gaps at different scales. This process resulted in characterization of risk and threats to all marine turtle RMUs, including identification of the world's 11 most endangered marine turtle RMUs based on highest risk and threats scores. This system also highlighted important gaps in available information that is crucial for accurate conservation assessments. Overall, this priority-setting framework can provide guidance for research and conservation priorities at multiple relevant scales, and should serve as a model for conservation status assessments and priority-setting for widespread, long-lived taxa. (Less)
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@article{fc1e3401-6d3a-4152-b81d-e2a4078fd8cd,
  abstract     = {Where conservation resources are limited and conservation targets are diverse, robust yet flexible priority-setting frameworks are vital. Priority-setting is especially important for geographically widespread species with distinct populations subject to multiple threats that operate on different spatial and temporal scales. Marine turtles are widely distributed and exhibit intra-specific variations in population sizes and trends, as well as reproduction and morphology. However, current global extinction risk assessment frameworks do not assess conservation status of spatially and biologically distinct marine turtle Regional Management Units (RMUs), and thus do not capture variations in population trends, impacts of threats, or necessary conservation actions across individual populations. To address this issue, we developed a new assessment framework that allowed us to evaluate, compare and organize marine turtle RMUs according to status and threats criteria. Because conservation priorities can vary widely (i.e. from avoiding imminent extinction to maintaining long-term monitoring efforts) we developed a "conservation priorities portfolio" system using categories of paired risk and threats scores for all RMUs (n = 58). We performed these assessments and rankings globally, by species, by ocean basin, and by recognized geopolitical bodies to identify patterns in risk, threats, and data gaps at different scales. This process resulted in characterization of risk and threats to all marine turtle RMUs, including identification of the world's 11 most endangered marine turtle RMUs based on highest risk and threats scores. This system also highlighted important gaps in available information that is crucial for accurate conservation assessments. Overall, this priority-setting framework can provide guidance for research and conservation priorities at multiple relevant scales, and should serve as a model for conservation status assessments and priority-setting for widespread, long-lived taxa.},
  author       = {Wallace, Bryan P. and DiMatteo, Andrew D. and Bolten, Alan B. and Chaloupka, Milani Y. and Hutchinson, Brian J. and Abreu-Grobois, F. Alberto and Mortimer, Jeanne A. and Seminoff, Jeffrey A. and Amorocho, Diego and Bjorndal, Karen A. and Bourjea, Jerome and Bowen, Brian W. and Briseno Duenas, Raquel and Casale, Paolo and Choudhury, B. C. and Costa, Alice and Dutton, Peter H. and Fallabrino, Alejandro and Finkbeiner, Elena M. and Girard, Alexandre and Girondot, Marc and Hamann, Mark and Hurley, Brendan J. and Lopez-Mendilaharsu, Milagros and Angela Marcovaldi, Maria and Musick, John A. and Nel, Ronel and Pilcher, Nicolas J. and Troëng, Sebastian and Witherington, Blair and Mast, Roderic B.},
  issn         = {1932-6203},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {9},
  publisher    = {Public Library of Science},
  series       = {PLoS ONE},
  title        = {Global Conservation Priorities for Marine Turtles},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0024510},
  volume       = {6},
  year         = {2011},
}