Abstract.

Marine turtles often conduct extensive migrations from foraging to breeding habitats. Turtles may spend several months in these breeding habitats, while periodically taking brief excursions onto terrestrial environments to nest. Identification and protection of these breeding habitats over the duration of the reproductive season is therefore vital for the conservation of sea turtles. Here, we used satellite telemetry to investigate the internesting behavior of East Pacific green turtles from 2 nesting beaches: Nombre de Jesús and Playa Cabuyal, located 50 km apart on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. A total of 21 satellite transmitters were deployed at Nombre de Jesús (n = 8) between 2007 and 2009 and at Cabuyal (n = 13) between 2012 and 2015. We found that turtle movements and dive behaviors were notably different between the 2 beaches. Specifically, the turtles from Cabuyal engaged in deeper dives (10 ±3 m vs. 6.5 ±2 m [mean ±SD]), presumably because they had access to deeper waters, and had larger minimum convex polygon area (606.5 ± 1150.5 km2 vs. 16 ± 11 km2) than turtles from Nombre De Jesús. Turtles from Nombre de Jesús also engaged in shorter dives (6.68 ± 4.5 min), compared with Cabuyal, where a majority of dives lasted between 10 and 30 min (18.75 ± 5.6 min). Finally, turtles at Nombre de Jesús dove significantly deeper during the day compared with the night, a pattern that was not present at Cabuyal. We conclude that internesting behaviors can be different even between beaches within the same geographical area. As such, internesting habitat management plans should pay specific attention to potential site-specific variation in internesting behaviors.

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