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International Journal of ZoologyVolume 2012 2012, Article ID 317568, 7 pages

Research Article

Department of Natural and Social Sciences, University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham GL50 4AZ, UK

Centro Ecológico Akumal, Akumal, 77730 Quintana Roo, Mexico

Luton Institute of Research in the Applied Natural Sciences, Division of Science, University of Bedfordshire, Luton, LU1 3JU, UK

Received 12 August 2011; Accepted 3 November 2011

Academic Editor: Michael Thompson

Copyright © 2012 Jane R. Lloyd et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Identifying individual animals is important in understanding their ecology and behaviour, as well as providing estimates of population sizes for conservation efforts. We produce identification keys from photographs of green sea turtles to identify them while foraging in Akumal Bay, Mexico. We create three keys, which a minimise the length of the key, b present the most obvious differential characteristics first, and c remove the strict dichotomy from key b. Keys were capable of identifying >99% of turtles in >2500 photographs during the six-month study period. The keys differed significantly in success rate for students to identify individual turtles, with key c being the best with >70% success and correctly being followed further than other keys before making a mistake. User-friendly keys are, therefore, a suitable method for the photographic identification of turtles and could be used for other large marine vertebrates in conservation or behavioural studies.

Autor: Jane R. Lloyd, Miguel Á. Maldonado, and Richard Stafford



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