Ecology and conservation of green and hawksbill turtles in the Dutch Caribbean


Global concerns over the status of green and hawksbill turtles call for innovative and integrated research to guide marine conservation efforts. The Netherlands has adopted national and international legislation to protect sea turtles inhabiting the Dutch Caribbean waters; however the lack of fundamental insights into the ecology, migration routes, population demographics and habitat use of green and hawksbill turtles poses severe limitations to implementing effective management plans for the region.

This proposal aims at answering the following key questions for green and hawksbill turtles in the Dutch Caribbean:

" How many turtle populations frequent the region and which of these breed locally?
" What are the levels of past and present connectivity and abundance?
" How are turtles utilizing the present foraging and breeding habitats in the region?
" Which critical habitats are under threat?

The proposed multidisciplinary and international project aims to fill vital gaps in baseline knowledge using an integrated combination of molecular tools, satellite tracking and habitat mapping. The results of our research will provide a firm basis to aid management agencies in implementing biologically sound, science-based conservation policies for sea turtles in the Dutch Caribbean. Our analyses will encompass multiple temporal, spatial and organizational scales providing a comprehensive insight into past and contemporary ecology of these endangered marine migrants across the entire Dutch Caribbean.


Project number


Main applicant

Prof. P.J. Palsbøll

Affiliated with

Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Faculteit Wiskunde en Natuurwetenschappen, Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences (GELIFES)


01/03/2015 to 28/02/2019