Akazul sea turtle strandings at La Barrona, Guatemala 2013

Dataset credit



Primary contact Rachel Brittain AKAZUL – Community, Conservation, and Ecology
Data entry Ei Fujioka Duke University



Akazul: Community, Conservation & Ecology has been operating its sea turtle conservation project since 2011 at La Barrona, one of Guatemala’s key nesting sites, utilized primarily by olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) and infrequently by eastern Pacific green (Chelonia mydas) and leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) sea turtles.

From 1st July 2013 to 31st December 2013, Akazul conducted daily beach patrols across a 7.5 km study area and encountered a total of 67 dead sea turtles. Of these, 55 were L. olivacea, 11 were C. mydas and 1 was unknown. A peak of 35 dead turtles occurred in July where 28 olive ridley and 7 black sea turtles were recorded. A second peak was observed in October (N = 16), consisting of 12 olive ridley, 3 black and 1 unknown species of sea turtle.

When possible, curved carapace length (CCL) and curved carapace width (CCW) measurements were collected and recorded in centimeters. Mean CCL and CCW for: 32 olive ridleys was 63.1 cm (range: 57-69.5 cm; SD = 3.1) and 68.0 cm (range: 61-73 cm; SD = 3.3), respectively; and 10 eastern Pacific green turtles was 68.2 cm (range: 54-81 cm; SD = 9.1) and 68.9 cm (range: 58-76 cm; SD = 6.2), respectively.

Condition of stranded turtles was noted by the observer using the following classification scheme: alive without injuries, alive with injuries, fresh dead, moderately decomposed, dried carcass, skeleton (bones only). 44 turtles were recorded as fresh dead, 9 were moderately decomposed, 3 were severely decomposed and 2 were dried carcases. Cause of death was difficult to determine in virtually all turtles recorded and it is difficult to ascertain whether observed external injuries were obtained post-mortem.

It is highly recommended that a regionally coordinated strandings program is implemented in the future as well as standardized sampling procedures to enable thorough analysis to effectively determine sources of mortality.


Key to Akazul’s long-term goal is conducting monitoring activities on the turtle nesting beach at La Barrona in order to further our understanding of Guatemala’s sea turtle populations. There are undoubtedly additional sea turtle strandings along unmonitored areas of Guatemala’s Pacific coast and the opportunity exists to collect substantial data on annual sea turtle mortalities. Such data provides valuable insights into the biology of and threats impacting populations of sea turtles present in Guatemalan waters (e.g. sources of mortality, locations of negative interactions between humans and sea turtles and spatial and temporal species distribution).

Supplemental information





Attributes described below represent those in the original dataset provided by the provider.
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This section explains attributes included in the original dataset. OBIS-SEAMAP restricts the attributes available to the public to date/time, lat/lon and species names/counts only. Should you need other attributes described here, you are encouraged to contact the data provider.

Attributes in dataset provided

Attribute (table column)Description
oidUnique ID (created by OBIS-SEAMAP)
row_idRow ID
obs_dateDate of observation
speciesSpecies name
latitudeLatitude in decimal degrees
long_orgLongitude in original format (positive numbers)
longitudeLongitude in decimal degrees
sp_tsnTaxonomic Serial Number added by OBIS-SEAMAP
obs_countNumber of animals (1)
obs_timeTime was not available and blank
geomGeometry field added by OBIS-SEAMAP
Marine mammals0
Sea turtles63
Rays and sharks0
Other species0
Non spatial4
Non species0
Date, Begin2013-07-09
Date, End2013-12-28
Temporal prec.111000
Latitude13.75 - 13.77
Longitude-90.20 - -90.14
Coord. prec.5 decimal digits
Data typeAnimal sighting
Sharing policy CC-BY-NC (Minimum)
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