A story of how a critical habitat of an endangered species is lost: The Mediterranean monk seal in the Northeastern (NE) Mediterranean

Protecting breeding caves are of primary importance for the conservation of endangered Mediterranean monk seals (MMS). Despite this fact a large scale marine terminal serving to a cement factory was constructed just 500 meters away from a well-known MMS breeding cave in Yesilovacık bay located in the south coast of Turkey (NE Mediterranean). In this study, effect of the marine terminal on seals was evaluated by camera-trap monitoring which enable to evaluate the cave use frequency and activity pattern through pre, during and post construction periods. Results indicated that the number of seals using the cave before the construction of the terminal was dramatically reduced. Seal activity in the cave significantly decreased during the construction phase. Two whelping events occurred in the cave during the construction phase were ended by disappearance of the weaned pups and carcass of one of these two pups was found in cachectic state in the proximity of the cave. No further pupping activity has been recorded in this breeding cave since then. Considering the position of the cave with respect the marine terminal (<500 meters), the tonnage of the vessels (>30000 GRT), their speed, and given that the ships maneuver in front of the cave, the estimated noise emission (174dB) were higher than the disturbance level (120 dB) given for the pinnipeds. This can be considered as a good example of the negative effect of anthropogenic underwater noise on the pinniped. The cave may perform its function again only by; i) enforcing strict measures, such as limiting the number and tonnage (<1500 DWT GRT) of the ships; ii) declaring a traffic free buffer zone around the cave (10 km); and iii) deploying some additional noise preventive measures, such as bubble curtains, during maneuvers.


Current distribution of the small pelagic fish populations in the North Eastern Levantine Sea in relation to environmental conditions and predicting the impacts of temperature rise on their future distributions
Sakınan, Serdar; Gücü, Ali Cemal; Department of Marine Biology and Fisheries (2014)
Stocks of traditionally targeted fish species are in decline in the north eastern Levant Sea due to overfishing during recent decades, while catch statistics show a simultaneous increase in landings of commercially less valuable small pelagic species. Moreover, the number of species in the eastern Mediterranean is increasing due to Lessepsian migration and the response of native species to the continuous migration of lessepsian species is in question. Additionally, warming associated with climate change is ...
An Alternative Photo-Identification Technique For The Mediterranean Monk Seals In The Northeastern Mediterranean
Ok, Meltem; Gücü, Ali Cemal (2009-03-02)
The Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus, Hermann 1779) has been listed as one of the most endangered mammals in the world. Due to its rarity, vulnerability and critical status, use of photo-identification is one of the widely used approaches to obtain essential data on these animals such as their population structure, migration behavior and critical habitats. In this study, 3D model construction from photographs was tested as an alternative photo-identification method for the monk seals since it does...
A box model for the basic elements of the northeastern Mediterranean Sea trawl fisheries
Gücü, Ali Cemal (1995-01-01)
A box model has been constructed for the northeastern Mediterranean Sea, where there is no reliable information on the total removal of fish by fisheries. The model utilizes survey data of biomass and these initial values are improved by a series of population dynamics methods. Once absolute values for the system components (length-weight relational growth parameters, mortality estimates, selection ogives, stomach content analysis) are established, biomass transfer within the ecosystem compartments is estim...
An avifaunal survey of the Istranca mountains turkish thrace novel breeding bird records including the first breeding record of Wood Warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix in Turkey
Özkan, Korhan (2011-01-01)
A breeding bird survey in the Istranca (Yıldız) mountains of Turkish Thrace seawards to the Black sea was conducted May–August 2009. Eighty-eight days of field work in 697 locations generated novel breeding evidence for several species. The survey provided the first certain evidence of Wood Warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix breeding in Turkey. Strong evidence for breeding of Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella, with a relatively widespread distribution, was also gathered. The survey suggested that Green Sandpipe...
New monitoring confirms regular breeding of the Mediterranean monk seal in Northern Cyprus
Beton, Damla; Broderick, Annette C.; Godley, Brendan J.; Kolac, Emre; Ok, Meltem; Snape, Robin T. E. (2021-07-01)
The Endangered Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus is one of the most threatened marine mammals. Across Cyprus, suitable habitat and presence of monk seals is well documented and, recently, camera-trap surveys in Southern Cyprus found there to be pupping. We present results of the first camera-trap surveys in Northern Cyprus spanning the pupping period. Four adult/subadults and three pups were identified in three of eight caves monitored with camera traps. One site on the north-west of the island supp...
Citation Formats
M. Ok and A. C. Gücü, “A story of how a critical habitat of an endangered species is lost: The Mediterranean monk seal in the Northeastern (NE) Mediterranean,” 2019, Accessed: 00, 2021. [Online]. Available: https://hdl.handle.net/11511/88705.