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Origin and dispersal routes of foreign green and Kemp’s ridley turtles in Spanish Atlantic and Mediterranean waters

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The presence of the green and Kemp’s ridley turtles is rare at Atlantic and Mediterranean Spanish waters, but the records have increased during the last decades. We reported a new set of records and reviewed all the historical observations of these species. The analysis of a mitochondrial DNA fragment of the newest records provided insights about the origin of the individuals. The Kemp’s ridley turtles arrived from the western Atlantic nesting beaches, although the discovering of a new haplotype suggested the existence of an unknown or low sampled nesting area of origin. Furthermore, the genetic analysis was crucial for the species identification in one specimen, hence recommending the use of genetic markers to confirm the presence of a rare species. All green turtles presented haplotypes exclusive from Atlantic nesting beaches and concentrated in the African populations. Thus, the closest eastern Mediterranean nesting areas were discarded as source populations and a new migration route for this species was described.

Affiliations: 1: 5Departamento de Biología, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Campus de Tafira, 35017 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain; 2: 6Centro de Recuperación de Fauna Silvestre de Tafira, Crta. del Centro km 7, 35017 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain; 3: 7CREMA (Centro de Recuperación de Especies Marinas Amenazadas), Aula del Mar de Málaga – Consejería de Medio Ambiente de la Junta de Andalucía, Avda. Manuel Agustín Heredia 35, 29001 Málaga, Spain; 4: 8Marine Animal Rescue Center (CRAM), Passeig de la Platja 28-30, 08820 El Prat de Llobregat, Spain; 5: 10Cavanilles Institute of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, University of Valencia, P.O. Box 22085, 46071 Valencia, Spain; 6: 11Fundación Aspro Natura, c/Garcilaso de la Vega 9, 07181 Costa d’en Blanes, Calvià, Spain; 7: 3Estación Biológica de Doñana, CSIC, c/Américo Vespucio s/n, 41092 Sevilla, Spain; 8: 1Department of Animal Biology, Faculty of Biology, University of Barcelona, Avda. Diagonal 643, 08028 Barcelona, Spain

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2014-01-01
2017-11-21

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