The Effect of Localized Oil Spills on the Atlantic Loggerhead Turtle Population Dynamics
The loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) is an endangered species with significantly different haplotype frequencies in the regional nesting populations of the Gulf of Mexico and the western North Atlantic Ocean. In this work, we analyze the population dynamics of loggerhead turtles affected by localized oil spill catastrophes. We develop a spatial, stage-classified matrix model and apply it to the three primary nesting regions in the area. Oil spills are simulated deterministically in each nesting region, with oil-induced mortality ranging from 25% to 100% and affecting stage classes either proportionally or equally. We then vary the fecundity and survival parameters uniformly, and use Latin Hypercube Sampling to run stochastic simulations for each nesting region. The results of this study are intended to provide insights into the population dynamics of the Atlantic loggerhead turtles and suggest conservation techniques appropriate in each oil spill case.
My Huynh, Arizona State University
Margaret-Rose Leung, Oregon State University
Melissa Marchand, California State University Bakersfield
Samantha Stykel, Luther College
Leon Arriola, University of Wisconsin Whitewater
José Flores, The University of South Dakota