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Mitochondrial DNA markers of loggerhead marine turtles (Caretta caretta) (Testudines: Cheloniidae) nesting at Kyparissia Bay, Greece, confirm the western Greece unit and regional structuring
Carlos Carreras, ALan F. Rees, Annette C. Broderick, Brendan J. Godley, Dimitris Margaritoulis

Genetic markers have been widely used in marine turtles to assess population structuring and origin of individuals in common feeding grounds, which are key elements for understanding their ecology and for developing conservation strategies. However, these analyses are very sensitive to missing information, especially from abundant nesting sites. Kyparissia Bay (western Greece) hosts the second largest Mediterranean nesting aggregation of the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), but the genetic profile of this nesting site has not, as yet, been described using the extended version of the historically used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) marker. This marker was genotyped for 36 individuals nesting at Kyparissia Bay and haplotype frequencies obtained were compared with published data from other Mediterranean nesting sites. The results confirmed the connection between Kyparissia and other western Greek nesting sites and the isolation of this western Greek group from other Mediterranean nesting areas. As a consequence of this isolation, this abundant group of nesting aggregations (almost 30% of the Mediterranean stock) is not likely to significantly contribute to the recovery of other declining Mediterranean units.

Keywords: population structure; endangered species; conservation; Caretta; Mediterranean; mitochondrial DNA
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 78(1) : 115-124 Back PDF
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