Marine Biology

, Volume 160, Issue 10, pp 2567–2580 | Cite as

Ecology of juvenile hawksbills (Eretmochelys imbricata) at Buck Island Reef National Monument, US Virgin Islands

  • Kristen M. HartEmail author
  • Autumn R. Sartain
  • Zandy-Marie Hillis-Starr
  • Brendalee Phillips
  • Philippe A. Mayor
  • Kimberly Roberson
  • Roy A. PembertonJr.
  • Jason B. Allen
  • Ian Lundgren
  • Susanna Musick
Original Paper


Surveys of juvenile hawksbills around Buck Island Reef National Monument, US Virgin Islands from 1994 to 1999 revealed distributional patterns and resulted in a total of 75 individual hawksbill captures from all years; turtles ranged from 23.2 to 77.7 cm curved carapace length (CCL; mean 42.1 ± 12.3 cm SD). Juveniles concentrated where Zoanthid cover was highest. Length of time between recaptures, or presumed minimum site residency, ranged from 59 to 1,396 days (mean 620.8 ± 402.4 days SD). Growth rates for 23 juveniles ranged from 0.0 to 9.5 cm year−1 (mean 4.1 ± 2.4 cm year−1SD). Annual mean growth rates were non-monotonic, with the largest mean growth rate occurring in the 30–39 cm CCL size class. Gastric lavages indicated that Zoanthids were the primary food source for hawksbills. These results contribute to our understanding of juvenile hawksbill ecology and serve as a baseline for future studies or inventories of hawksbills in the Caribbean.


Great Barrier Reef Forereef Green Turtle Gastric Lavage Passive Integrate Transponder 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Fieldwork was permitted by NPS under the DPNR territorial permit (years 1994–1999) and only within Federal waters. National Park accession numbers from 1998 to 2000: BUIS-00037 to BUIS-00058; catalog number BUIS 3415. Funding for this work was provided by the National Park Service, and the USGS Priority Ecosystem Science Program. Any use of trade, product, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the US Government.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (outside the USA) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristen M. Hart
    • 1
    Email author
  • Autumn R. Sartain
    • 2
  • Zandy-Marie Hillis-Starr
    • 3
  • Brendalee Phillips
    • 4
  • Philippe A. Mayor
    • 3
  • Kimberly Roberson
    • 5
  • Roy A. PembertonJr.
    • 6
  • Jason B. Allen
    • 7
  • Ian Lundgren
    • 3
  • Susanna Musick
    • 3
  1. 1.U.S. Geological SurveySoutheast Ecological Science CenterDavieUSA
  2. 2.CNTSDavieUSA
  3. 3.National Park Service, Buck Island Reef National MonumentChristianstedUSA
  4. 4.U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, John Heinz National Wildlife RefugePhiladelphiaUSA
  5. 5.NOAA, Center for Coastal Monitoring and AssessmentSilver SpringsUSA
  6. 6.Division of Fish and Wildlife, DPNR, Government of U.S. Virgin IslandsSt. ThomasUSA
  7. 7.Mote Marine LaboratorySarasotaUSA

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