Preface: Filling the gaps in sea turtle research and conservation in the region where it began: Latin America

Ximena Velez-Zuazo, Jeffrey C. Mangel, Jeffrey A. Seminoff, Bryan P. Wallace, Joanna Alfaro-Shigueto

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The first documented long-term sea turtle research and conservation project in the world was officially launched in Latin America (Tortuguero, Costa Rica) in 1955. Despite the enormous advances in research and conservation in the nearly seven decades since, many questions still remain unanswered about fundamental aspects of ecology and population dynamics that hinder the conservation of sea turtles in the region. To catalyze further dissemination of information and improvement of sea turtle conservation, this Special Issue presents 10 papers solely focused on studies conducted in Latin America. This Special Issue resulted from an initiative launched to celebrate the 36th Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation, held in Peru in March 2016 -the first time this event was held in South America. The articles featured present novel results for four of the five species of sea turtles present in this region, with data collected as far back as 1971 and as recent as 2016. The studies cover diverse subjects including the nesting ecology for the most endangered populations of sea turtles in the world - the Eastern Pacific hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) and leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea); the origins and connectivity of nesting and foraging populations of hawksbills and green turtles (Chelonia mydas); the detection of a new foraging ground for hawksbills in the Eastern Pacific; and the pervasive occurrence of incidental capture as well as illegal retention of sea turtles. The recovery of these imperiled marine reptiles relies on information to design and implement sound conservation actions; in this regard, the papers in this Special Issue are making a vital contribution, following the initial efforts launched nearly 70 years ago.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-505
Number of pages5
JournalLatin American Journal of Aquatic Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2017


  • Bycatch
  • Illegal take
  • Nesting ecology
  • Population genetics
  • Sea turtle research


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