Journal of Coastal Conservation

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 85–93 | Cite as

Are anthropogenic factors affecting nesting habitat of sea turtles? The case of Kanzul beach, Riviera Maya-Tulum (Mexico)

  • Aurora Oliver de la Esperanza
  • Alejandro Arenas Martínez
  • Miriam Tzeek Tuz
  • Ernesto Pérez-Collazos


Marine coast modification and human pressure affects many species, including sea turtles. In order to study nine anthropogenic impacts that might affect nesting selection of females, incubation and hatching survival of loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and green turtle (Chelonia mydas), building structures were identified along a 5.2 km beach in Kanzul (Mexico). A high number of hotels and houses (88; 818 rooms), with an average density of 16.6 buildings per kilometer were found. These buildings form a barrier which prevents reaching the beach from inland, resulting in habitat fragmentation. Main pressures were detected during nesting selection (14.19% of turtle nesting attempts interrupted), and low impact were found during incubation (0.77%) and hatching (4.7%). There were three impacts defined as high: beach furniture that blocks out the movement of hatchlings or females, direct pressure by tourists, and artificial beachfront lighting that can potentially mislead hatchlings or females. High impacted areas showed lowest values in nesting selection and hatching success. Based on our results, we suggest management strategies to need to be implemented to reduce human pressure and to avoid nesting habitat loss of loggerhead and green turtle in Kanzul, Mexico.


Beach management Caretta caretta Chelonia mydas Eco-touristic certificate Green turtle Hatching success Loggerhead Nesting selection 



We want to thank to Flora, Fauna and Culture of Mexico conservation group, for its efforts protecting sea turtles, for making this research possible, and to the employees and volunteers who participated in the 2014 nesting season that helped with the field sampling. We want to thank to two anonymous referees for his/her careful revision of our manuscript. We also want to thank to Robert Pérez and Maria Teresa Albarracín for linguistic assistance. This work has been partially supported by the Flora, Fauna y Cultura de Mexico A.C. and the Spanish Aragón Government and European Social Fund co-funding support to the Bioflora research group.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aurora Oliver de la Esperanza
    • 1
  • Alejandro Arenas Martínez
    • 2
  • Miriam Tzeek Tuz
    • 2
  • Ernesto Pérez-Collazos
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Ciencias Agrarias y del Medio Natural. Escuela Politécnica Superior de HuescaUniversidad de ZaragozaHuescaSpain
  2. 2.Flora, Fauna y Cultura de México. A. CPlaya del CarmenMexico

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