Nesting ecology of flatback sea turtles Natator depressus from Delambre Island, Western Australia

Michele Thums, Jason Rossendell, Rebecca Fisher, Michael L. Guinea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Nest site selection is likely to be important for the fitness of sea turtle populations, but data on the environmental drivers of nest site selection and other important parameters like nest site fidelity and inter-nesting and remigration intervals are limited. We address these questions using data on flipper tag resightings and track counts from flatback turtles (Natator depressus) from Delambre Island in Western Australia collected over 2-3 weeks each nesting season across six nesting seasons. The median inter-nesting interval was 13 days (range 9-17 days) and the mean ± s.d. remigration interval was 1.99 ± 0.95 years. Turtles had around 10% probability of returning to the same sector of the beach (150-m-long sections). The median distance between subsequent emergences (whether false crawls were included or not) was ∼450 m. The number of turtles both emerging and successfully nesting was higher when air temperature and humidity were lowest and emergences increased slightly with tide height. Sector of the beach was by far the strongest predictor of nest site, with turtles showing preference for the less exposed side of the island. The results of this study will assist with future monitoring of this population and the management of threats related to coastal development and activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-451
Number of pages9
JournalMarine and Freshwater Research
Issue number4
Early online date20 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Nesting ecology of flatback sea turtles Natator depressus from Delambre Island, Western Australia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this