The number of green turtles observed nesting around northern Australia varies widely from year to year, and these interannual fluctuations are in phase at widely separated rookeries, with large numbers of turtles breeding 2 years after major El Niño episodes (Limpus and Nicholls, 1988). Preparation for breeding commences well over a year before oviposition. Atmospheric or oceanic anomalies associated with El Niño (perhaps increased availability of food due to the reduced number of tropical cyclones during El Niño) triggers the turtles to commence breeding. The relationship with El Niño provides a means for predicting, a long way in advance, the approximate numbers of turtles breeding. Such a prediction is potentially useful in sea turtle management in areas where eggs, courting turtles, or nesting females are harvested.
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