Ingestion and defecation of marine debris by loggerhead sea turtles, Caretta caretta, from by-catches in the South-West Indian Ocean

Ludovic Hoarau, Lara Ainley, Claire Jean, Stéphane Ciccione

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

65 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Marine debris, caused by anthropogenic pollution, is a major problem impacting marine wildlife worldwide. This study documents and quantifies the ingestion and defecation of debris by 74 loggerhead sea turtles, Caretta caretta, in the South-West Indian Ocean. Debris was found in 51.4% of gut or fecal samples of loggerheads by-catch from Reunion Island long liners. Anthropogenic debris was ubiquitous in our samples with plastics accounting for 96.2% of the total debris collected. No significant relationship was detected between the characteristics of ingested debris and the biometric characteristics of loggerheads. The number, weight, volume and mean length of debris were higher in gut content of deceased loggerheads than in fecal samples of live turtles, but not significantly, except for the mean length. This is the first record of debris ingestion by sea turtles in the Indian Ocean and our results highlight the magnitude of this pollution of the marine environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-96
Number of pages7
JournalMarine pollution bulletin
Volume84
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2014

Keywords

  • Anthropogenic debris
  • Caretta caretta
  • Defecation
  • Ingestion
  • Loggerhead sea turtles
  • South-West Indian Ocean

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