Scientia Marina, Vol 75, No 3 (2011)

The North Atlantic Oscillation and sea surface temperature affect loggerhead abundance around the Strait of Gibraltar


https://doi.org/10.3989/scimar.2011.75n3571

José C. Báez
Instituto Español de Oceanografia (IEO), Centro Oceanográfico de Málaga - Departamento de Biología Animal, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Málaga, Spain

Juan J. Bellido
Departamento de Biología Animal, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Málaga - Aula del Mar de Málaga, Spain

Francisco Ferri-Yáñez
Departamento de Biología Animal, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Málaga - Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Spain

Juan J. Castillo
Aula del Mar de Málaga, Spain

Juan J. Martín
Aula del Mar de Málaga, Spain

José L. Mons
Aula del Mar de Málaga, Spain

David Romero
Departamento de Biología Animal, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Málaga, Spain

Raimundo Real
Departamento de Biología Animal, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Málaga, Spain

Abstract


The aim of this study was to explore the possible link between variations in the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and sea surface temperature (SST) and the abundance of loggerhead turtles around the Strait of Gibraltar, using stranding data for the Andalusian coastal area as a proxy for abundance. The annual average SST (from November to October) in the Gulf of Cadiz was negatively associated with the total number of loggerhead strandings each year from November 1997 to October 2006 in the Gulf of Cadiz and the Alboran Sea. The average NAO index was positively associated with the number of strandings in the Gulf of Cadiz in the following year. Prevailing westerly winds during positive NAO phases and the subsequent delayed decrease in SST may lead to turtles from the west Atlantic accumulating in the Gulf of Cadiz and unsuccessfully attempting to return. Secondary causes, such as buoyancy, cold stunning, longline fisheries, net fisheries, debilitated turtle syndrome, and trauma may also increase the number of turtle strandings.

Keywords


global change; Gulf of Cadiz; marine migratory species; Mediterranean Sea; sea turtle

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References


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