Examples of How SWOT Database has been used for Research and Conservation

The sea turtle data that are housed within the global SWOT database have been made publicly available by the original data contributors and by the SWOT Program both for educational purposes and for facilitation of an exchange among sea turtle researchers and conservationists. The data are protected by SWOT’s terms of use, but anyone may request to use the data by following a simple request process.

Information from the SWOT database has been requested more than 100 times and is used in a variety of projects that aim to advance sea turtle research and conservation worldwide. Users have ranged from researchers conducting peer-reviewed scientific studies and using spatial planning applications, to students learning to make maps in university geographic information system (GIS) classes, to elementary schoolchildren learning about sea turtles. Next are some products that have benefited from SWOT’s global sea turtle database. If you have ideas about how SWOT data could be put to use for sea turtle research and conservation, visit https://www.seaturtlestatus.org/request-data/ today and let us know!

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A Global Gap Analysis of Sea Turtle Protection Coverage (Mazaris et al. 2014)

The authors evaluated the extent to which the current global network of protected areas encompasses sea turtle nesting sites to identify gaps in sea turtle protection globally and regionally. The analysis used data on the global distribution of sea turtle nesting sites from the SWOT database.


Using Climatic Suitability Thresholds to Identify Past, Present and Future Population Viability (Almpanidou et al. 2016)

The authors used climatic niche models to generate thresholds of climatic suitability for loggerhead turtles nesting in the Mediterranean and assessed the climatic suitability of loggerhead nesting sites in the past and future. The analysis used data on the location of loggerhead nesting sites in the Mediterranean from the SWOT database.


Regional Management Units for Marine Turtles: A Novel Framework for Prioritizing Conservation and Research across Multiple Scales (Wallace et al. 2010)

This landmark publication by members of the IUCN-SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group defined Regional Management Units (RMUs, i.e., subpopulations) of marine turtles worldwide for the first time. To delineate the RMUs, the authors collated all available information on marine turtle biogeography, including nesting sites, population abundances and trends, population genetics, and satellite telemetry. The SWOT database was used to help identify and georeference nesting sites globally for all species, a fundamental component of each RMU.

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Climate Influences the Global Distribution of Sea Turtle Nesting (Pike 2013)

Author David Pike predicted the spatial distributions of nesting habitat under current climatic conditions for seven sea turtle species worldwide in an effort to understand whether climate limits current sea turtle nesting distributions and shapes the ecological niche of the terrestrial life-history stage of these wide-ranging marine vertebrates. The analysis used data on nesting beach locations from SWOT and other sources, and the resulting data layer (a global index of habitat suitability) is available through the SWOT database online.