Migratory patterns of Yucatan Peninsula hawksbills

Eduardo Cuevas

Dataset credit

Data provider
Grupo de trabajo para la tortuga carey (Mexico)
Originating data center
Satellite Tracking and Analysis Tool (STAT)
Project partner
This study represents a collaboration between the Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnologia (UNAM), ProNatura Peninsula de Yucatan, Comision Nacional de Areas Naturales Protegidas (SEMARNAT), Laguna de Terminos- Area de Proteccion de Flora y Fauna, Chelonia Inc (Puerto Rico), and NOAA.
Project sponsor or sponsor description
This project (CAMP-2005-C01-046) is financed jointly by the Campeche State Government and the Mexican National Science and Technology Council (CONACYT). Further support from NOAA, which we thankfully acknowledge, has permitted us to extend the scope of the initial project.


Primary contact Eduardo Cuevas Grupo de trabajo para la tortuga carey (Mexico)
Data entry Michael Coyne seaturtle.org



The hawksbill population that nests in the Yucatan Peninsula (Mexico) is considered the largest in the Atlantic and one of the four largest in the world. However, from about 6,400 registered annual number of nests in 1999 (when the Mexican population represented about 43% of all recorded hawksbill nests in the Greater Caribbean), the population's reproductive output dropped to less than 2,400 nests/yr by 2004. No single cause has been demonstrated but as major nesting sites are under protection this alarming decline (a drop of 63% in 5 years) is suspected to be associated with threats impacting the species at foraging grounds or migratory routes. Unfortunately not only has there been no capacity to study and protect these habitats but, with the exception of studies by Byles and Swimmer (1994) and Garduño et al. (2003), there is also insufficient information on the routes taken and foraging destinations for the various rookeries in the region. To address these issues, the current satellite tracking project was instrumented to reveal the post-nesting migratory behavior of hawksbills in the Yucatan Peninsula, starting in 2006 with animals nesting in Campeche State, where about 50% of the reproductive output by the species in the whole Peninsula is concentrated.

Knowledge on the migratory routes and foraging sites will be helpful in identifying and mitigating potential threats in the marine habitats and for the establishment of research programs on the status of the habitats themselves. Furthermore, discovering whether or not these lie within or outside Mexican territorial waters has important consequences for the management strategies. If they are inside, the responsibility for addressing the hawksbills' conservation needs is totally Mexico's. If, on the other hand, some or all of the turtles cross into international waters or into other countries' jurisdictions it would indicate an internationally shared responsibility.

Future studies by the group will be directed towards tracking hawksbills nesting in the two other sates using similar techniques and learning from the lessons obtained from this season's experience.

Literature cited
Byles, R. A. and Swimmer, Y. B. 1994. Post-nesting migration of Eretmocheyls imbricata in the Yucatán Península. In: K. A. Bjorndal, A. B. Bolten, D. A. Johnson and P. J. Eliazar (compilers). 1994. Proc. Fourteenth Ann. Symp. Sea Turtle Biol. and Cons. NMFS-SEFSC-351. p. 202.

Garduño-Andrade, M., Schroeder, B. Balazs, G. and Lope, R. 2003. Migration and dive behavior of female hawksbills (Eretmochelys imbricata) in the Yucatan Peninsula. In: Seminoff, J. A. Compiler, Proceedings of the Twenty-Second Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-SEFSC-503, p. 285



Supplemental information

Visit STAT's project page for additional information.




Attributes described below represent those in the original dataset provided by the provider.
Only minimum required attributes are visible and downloadable online. Other attributes may be obtained upon provider's permission.

Attributes in dataset

Attribute (table column)Description
prognumProgram number
tag_idPTT ID
lcLocation class
iqQuality indicator
dir1Dir 1
nb_mesNumber of messages received
big_nb_mesdefinition not provided
best_levelBest signal strength in dB
pass_durationPass duration in seconds
nopcNumber Of Plausibility Checks successful (from 0-4)
calcul_freqCalculated frequency
altitudeAltitude used for location calculation
speciesSpecies name
project_idSTAT Project ID
lc_filterParameters to location filtering
speed_filterParameters to speed filtering
distance_filterParameters to distance filtering
topo_filterParameters to topo filtering
time_filterParameters to time filtering
angle_filterParameters to angle filtering
life_stageLife stage of the animal
genderGender of the animal
wetdryWet or dry
wetdry_filterParameters to Wet or dry filterint
obs_datetimeDate and time (local time zone)
timezone_hTime difference from UTC
Marine mammals0
Sea turtles794
Rays and sharks0
Other species0
Non spatial0
Non species0
Date, Begin2006-07-16
Date, End2008-07-03
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude8.72 - 30.04
Longitude-130.91 - -55.79
Coord. prec.3 decimal digits
Data typeTelemetry location
TracklinesYES (ID: 366)
Traveled (km)82,993
Travel hours37,821
Contr. throughSatellite Tracking and Analysis Tool
Sharing policy Permission required
Shared with SWOT
GBIF (via DOI)*
* Aggregated summary
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See metadata in FGDC XML
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