Occurrence of sea turtles during seismic surveys in Northeastern Brazil

Ocorrência de tartarugas marinhas durante prospecções sísmicas no nordeste do Brasil

There are seven species of sea turtles around the world. Among these, five visit the northeast coast of Brazil to reproduce and feed. These sea turtles are impacted by human activity and need conservation measures. The seismic survey is one of these activities due to its high intensity and low frequency sound emissions in the marine environment. Records of sea turtles during seismic surveys in shallow waters of the northeast of Brazil between 2002 and 2003 are presented in this study with some discussion about the effectiveness of the monitoring procedures. Three species of sea turtle were recorded within the seismic survey areas. The Chelonia mydas species was the most commonly sighted turtle. There was only one record of Caretta caretta and Lepidochelys olivacea. The presence of sea turtles in Sergipe state was linked to the reproductive period while this pattern was not observed in Ceará state. The absence of information about distribution and abundance of sea turtles in the surveyed areas previous to and after the seismic surveys, as well as numerous incomplete data make it hard to identify the effect of seismic surveys on those factors and also sea turtle behaviors.

sea turtles; seismic survey; sea-life surveys; South America; Northeastern Brazil

Instituto Virtual da Biodiversidade | BIOTA - FAPESP Departamento de Biologia Vegetal - Instituto de Biologia, UNICAMP CP 6109, 13083-970 - Campinas/SP, Tel.: (+55 19) 3521-6166, Fax: (+55 19) 3521-6168 - Campinas - SP - Brazil
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