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Genetic characterization of loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) individuals stranded and caught as bycatch from the North-Central Adriatic Sea

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The North Adriatic Sea is considered a critical feeding and developmental area for Mediterranean loggerhead turtles. In this study, a comparative analysis of mitochondrial DNA control region sequences was carried out on sixty-five loggerhead individuals stranded and caught as bycatch in the Adriatic Sea from 1999 to 2002. We demonstrated the existence of genetic relationships between the North-Central Adriatic (NCA) aggregate and the Central-Eastern Mediterranean rookeries. Short-range and long-range migrations towards the Adriatic Sea were hypothesized by the finding of individuals bearing haplotypes endemic to the nesting populations of Greece and Turkey. The occurrence of individuals belonging to dimensional classes from juveniles to mature adults strongly support both the feeding and developmental role of the NCA.

Affiliations: 1: Dipartimento di Biochimica, Biologia e Genetica, Università Politecnica delle Marche, via Ranieri, 65, 60100 Ancona, Italy; 2: Centro Interdipartimentale di Ricerca per le Scienze Ambientali, Università di Bologna, via S. Alberto, 163, 48100 Ravenna, Italy; 3: A.R.C.H.É. Research and Educational Activities for Chelonian Conservation, Via Mulinetto 40/a, 44100 Ferrara, Italy; 4: Dipartimento di Biochimica, Biologia e Genetica, Università Politecnica delle Marche, via Ranieri, 65, 60100 Ancona, Italy;, Email:


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