The implications of variable remigration intervals for the assessment of population size in marine turtles

J Theor Biol. 2000 Sep 21;206(2):221-7. doi: 10.1006/jtbi.2000.2116.


Sea turtles nest on sandy beaches and tend to show high fidelity to specific nesting areas, but, despite this fidelity, the inter-annual variation in nesting numbers may be large. This variation may reflect the fact that turtles do not usually nest in consecutive years. Here, theoretical models are developed in which the interval between successive nesting years (the remigration interval) reflects conditions encountered on the feeding grounds, with good feeding years leading to a reduction in the remigration interval and vice versa. These simple models produce high levels of inter-annual variation in nesting numbers with, on occasion, almost no turtles nesting in some years even when the population is large and stable. The implications for assessing the size of sea turtle populations are considered.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Movement
  • Population Dynamics*
  • Time Factors
  • Turtles / physiology*