Research by Dr. Fuentes

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This research topic recognizes that an understanding of  species ecological roles and how they use space is fundamental for their conservation. Thus, the Marine Turtle Research, Ecology and Conservation Group uses a variety of approaches (e.g., photo ID, satellite telemetry, animal borne-cameras, oceanographic dispersal models, aerial surveys) to determine the spatial ecology of marine megafauna, and to explore how environmental parameters influence the spatial distribution and demographic parameters of species. We use information on the spatial and temporal distribution of marine megafauna to identify key habitats, critical resources, and discrete aggregation areas to inform their management.

Population structure and foraging aggregation of marine turtles in the Gulf of Mexico

Loggerhead turtle nesting ecology and dynamics in the Gulf of Mexico

Predator-prey interactions: understanding how shark presence influences marine turtle habitat use, distribution, and movement

Spatial ecology of marine turtles

Foraging ecology of marine turtles

Novel approaches to understand the behavior and ecology of marine turtles

All seven species of marine turtles have complex life cycles, using terrestrial and marine environments throughout different life stages during which they are exposed to an array of threats, impacting the persistence of their populations. Our lab undertakes several projects to better understand the impacts of different threats to marine turtle population both at their terrestrial and marine habitats.

Risk of vessel strike to marine turtles and potential management options

Impacts and adaptive capacity of marine turtles to climate change

Effects of recreational fisheries on marine turtles

Impacts of sea-level rise, tropical storms and hurricanes on marine turtles

Cumulative impacts of coastal development on marine turtles

Exposure and risk of marine turtles to marine debris and microplastic

The goal of this research area is to provide managers with tools to enhance the effectiveness of conservation and to identify stressors that if reduced will provide the most benefit to species persistence.

Prioritization of conservation interventions and optimal resource allocation

Conservation outcomes and the effectiveness of interventions