Recent status and fate of the north-eastern Mediterranean monk seal populations.

The endangered Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) is represented by approximately 350-450 individuals in Eastern Mediterranean waters in the form of small, fragmented and isolated groups. The North-eastern Mediterranean coast of Turkey being the host to one of the last continuously breeding populations, has vital importance for the survival of the species. Small populations inhabiting this region have been studied extensively for the last 25 years. The recent surveys showed that fragmented populations are still exposed to severe threats as a consequence of anthropogenic impacts. Therefore, in this study we focused on three previously documented populations in the southern coast of Turkey to update their status by utilizing photo-identification method, to estimate the size of the populations with Champan modification, to elucidate the dispersal among populations and to test the impact of dispersal on the survival of the populations through population viability analysis (PVA). Within this context, 20 caves were monitored with infrared camera-traps between the years 2015 and 2018. 37 individuals were identified and the overall population size estimate was 37 ± 5 (95% CI) seals. Among them were three adult females mobile between Western and Central groups which makes the mobility range of seals almost six times larger than previously documented in the same region. When compared to former studies, mortality rates increased whilst fecundity rates decreased. The results of the PVA analysis showed that populations have higher chance of survival in the case of dispersal. However, both isolated and dispersed populations have failed to survive within the next 100 years. Moreover, PVA models were easily affected by carrying capacity which highlights the importance of breeding caves. Therefore, continuity of monitoring studies focusing on threats and establishing Marine Protected Areas considering the suitable seal habitats and mobility of seals has vital importance for the future of the species


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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...
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The Black Sea anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus ponticus) is a migratory species spawning and overwintering at two opposite ends of the Black Sea. It has been reported that the species may display significant alteration in their migration routes and in their spawning grounds. That, in turn, affects the stock and the fishery on this species noticeably. This study focuses on these alterations by comparing the age, length and egg-size distributions of the anchovies sampled within the Turkish Exclusive Economic Z...
Citation Formats
M. KURT, M. Ok, and A. C. Gücü, “Recent status and fate of the north-eastern Mediterranean monk seal populations.,” 2019, Accessed: 00, 2021. [Online]. Available: