Marine Biology

, 165:77 | Cite as

Comparison of the rookery connectivity and migratory connectivity: insight into movement and colonization of the green turtle (Chelonia mydas) in Pacific–Southeast Asia

  • Hideaki Nishizawa
  • Juanita Joseph
  • Yee Kuen Chong
  • Syed Abdullah Syed Kadir
  • Irwan Isnain
  • Tonny Anak Ganyai
  • Saifullah Jaaman
  • Xuelei Zhang
Original paper


Integration of the rookery connectivity, which includes historical connections among rookeries, and migratory connectivity assessing dispersal or migratory routes of marine animals are important for understanding dispersal and/or migration and its effect on the formation of genetic population structure. The migratory nature and long-distance movement of sea turtles have been reported, while natal philopatry has been suggested by genetic differentiation among rookeries within a relatively narrow geographic scale. Therefore, we hypothesize that contemporary long-distance movement has a limited effect on colonization in new rookeries. This study compared the genetic relationships among rookeries and between the rookeries and foraging grounds of green turtles (Chelonia mydas) in Southeast Asia. Mitochondrial control region sequences of 333 turtles from 11 rookeries were newly determined, and combination with previously reported Indo-Pacific rookeries indicated the presence of a genetic barrier in the Torres Strait and Celebes Sea (i.e. Philippines–Sulawesi). On the other hand, an analysis of newly collected 107 turtles from seven foraging sites and mixed stock analyses indicated contemporary movement across this historical genetic barrier, from Micronesian rookeries to foraging grounds in the Celebes Sea (i.e. Sipadan Island and Tun Sakaran Marine Park). Isolation by distance was generally supported for relationships among rookeries, and the high migratory connectivity did not result in a lower genetic distance between rookeries than predicted from geographic distance. Differences between rookery connectivity and migratory connectivity in green turtles in Southeast Asia are likely due to migration to natal regions after long-distance movement.



We thank the Department of Fisheries, Malaysia (Terengganu, Pahang, Johor, Melaka, Penang, and Perak), Department of Marine Parks Malaysia, Sabah Parks, Sabah Wildlife Department, Sarawak Forestry Department, Sarawak Forestry Corporation, and the Malaysian National Security Council for approving the sampling permits in Malaysia. The collection of samples in Sabah and Sarawak would not have been possible without help from the staff of Sabah Parks and Sarawak Forestry Corporation, respectively. We acknowledge the use of the Maptool from SEATURTLE.ORG to create the maps in this paper. We finally thank two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on this manuscript.


This work was supported by the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education under the Fundamental Research Grants Scheme (FRGS 59123), SEATRU Turtle Fund (63130), the Institute of Oceanography and Environment, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Higher Institution Center of Excellence, HICoE Phase I (66928) and the China-ASEAN Maritime Cooperation Fund.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. Sampling permits for this research were: Sabah Parks (TS/PTD/5/4 Jld. 35[45] and TS/PTD/5/4 Jld. 49[54]), Sabah Wildlife Department (JHL.600-6/1/2 Jld.6), Malaysian National Security Council (MKN [R] 269/2 Jld.26 [37]), Sarawak (NCCD.907.4.4 [Jld. 9]—67, NCCD.907.4.4 [Jld.10]—181 and Park Permit 142/2014) and Peninsular Malaysia (JTLM 620-2/1/1[3] and Prk.ML.34/18 Jld 26[30]).

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of InformaticsKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  2. 2.Marine Borneo Research InstituteUniversiti Malaysia SabahKota KinabaluMalaysia
  3. 3.Institute of Oceanography and EnvironmentUniversiti Malaysia TerengganuKuala TerengganuMalaysia
  4. 4.Fisheries Research InstituteDungunMalaysia
  5. 5.Sabah ParksKota KinabaluMalaysia
  6. 6.Talang-Satang National ParkLunduMalaysia
  7. 7.Marine Ecology Research Center, First Institute of Oceanography (FIO)State Oceanic Administration (SOA)QingdaoChina

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