alexa Impacts of the Super Cyclone Philine on Sea Turtle Nesting Habitats at the Rushikulya Rookery, Ganjam Coast, India

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Impacts of the Super Cyclone Philine on Sea Turtle Nesting Habitats at the Rushikulya Rookery, Ganjam Coast, India

The aim of this study was to describe possible impacts produced by the Philine super cyclone on olive ridlyes, Lepidochelys olivacea, at the Ganjam coast. An ecological impact assessment was conducted at Rushikulya rookery, an arribada nesting site for olive ridley and all along the Ganjam coast, from October 2013 to February 2014. The sand island where mass nesting use to occur was mostly submerged after Philine, located at the north of Rushikulya river mouth. At Rushikulya rookery a mini arribada evolving 20,594 olive ridleys occurred, and this mini arribada remained for only two days, between 10th and 11th February 2014. The failure of intermediate sporadic nesting prior to arribada, this activity adds a cue to mass nesting event every year. The failure of intermediate sporadic nesting and unexpected ending of arribada nesting after two days could be attributed to the fact of unconducive beach. This may be due looseness of the newly formed beach, the process of rapid erosion and accretion influenced by anthropogenic factors as well as the impact of cyclonic storm such as Philine and Lehar preceding the mass nesting season. During this study it was found 0.02 sq.kms mass nesting area was eroded after Philine. Beyond this, the nesting pattern in Ganjam coast also changed in present season (2013/2014). Olive ridleys that used to nest at the area between Purnabandha and Podumpeta, but in this seasons Olive ridley nested at the north area (between Gokharkuda to Podumpeta) possible due to the high accretion and availability of larger nesting space, as the width of beach was more than 150 meters whereas the beach width from Purnabandha to Gokharkuda was only 40 meters. Changes in geomorphology can be the cause of these changes in behavior. Moreover, debris quantities became higher after the Philine, acting as a barrier for sea turtle nesters and hatchling process. Intensive surveys in next two-three years are extremely necessary to understand olive ridleys nesters patterns and the long term effects of the cyclones at nesting areas.

 

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