Population structure and migration paths of leatherback turtles from Sumatra


Leatherback turtles are one of the seven sea turtles in the world. In Indonesia, populations are known from Papua and Sumatra. While for the Papuan population, information is available on their extent of migration and genetic diversity, information lacks for the Sumatran population. IUCN put the leatherback population of Sumatra as data deficient, and most known rookeries are in unprotected areas. Therefore, it is crucial to study the Sumatran leatherback turtles in order to establish an effective management plan.

Aims and Objectives

  • Identify population size based on number of nests laid in 2020-2021.
  • Identify population structure using mitochondrial and microsatellite DNA.
  • Elucidate the foraging ground, movement and behavior of Sumatran leatherback turtles using satellite telemetry.


Direct surveys will be conducted to cover the nesting beach area in Sumatra. Environmental variables of slope, sand, salinity, vegetation and predators will be measured as well. Tissue samples will be taken from turtle flippers and sequenced for fragments of mtDNA and five microsatellite loci. Finally, transmitters will be placed on turtle backs so that they can be tracked. All of this information together will result in resolving current knowlege gaps about the Sumatran leatherback turtle population and will be necessary for the development of a strong management plan.

Direct attachment methods of tracking devices on turtles.
Direct attachment methods of tracking devices on turtles.