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Hawksbill turtle ddRAD raw sequencing data


van der Zee, Jurjan et al. (2021), Hawksbill turtle ddRAD raw sequencing data, Dryad, Dataset,


Pleistocene environmental changes are generally assumed to have dramatically affected species’ demography via changes in habitat availability, but this is challenging to investigate due to our limited knowledge of how Pleistocene ecosystems changed through time. Here, we tracked changes in shallow marine habitat availability resulting from Pleistocene sea level fluctuations throughout the last glacial cycle (120 – 14 thousand years ago; kya) and assessed correlations with past changes in genetic diversity inferred from genome-wide SNPs, obtained via ddRAD sequencing, in Caribbean hawksbill turtles, which feed in coral reefs commonly found in shallow tropical waters. We found sea level regression resulted in an average 75% reduction in shallow marine habitat availability during the last glacial cycle. Changes in shallow marine habitat availability correlated strongly with past changes in hawksbill turtle genetic diversity, which gradually declined to ~1/4th of present-day levels during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM; 26 – 19 kya). Shallow marine habitat availability and genetic diversity rapidly increased after the LGM, signifying a population expansion in response to warming environmental conditions. Our results suggest a positive correlation between Pleistocene environmental changes, habitat availability and species’ demography, and that demographic changes in hawksbill turtles were potentially driven by feeding habitat availability. However, we also identified challenges associated with disentangling the potential environmental drivers of past demographic changes, which highlight the need for integrative approaches. Our conclusions underline the role of habitat availability on species’ demography and biodiversity, and that the consequences of ongoing habitat loss should not be underestimated.


The dataset consists of two gzipped FASTQ files that raw Illumina sequencing data (ddRADs) obtained from 55 hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata).

Usage Notes

Please see the published manuscript and accompanying supplementary material for a detailed description of the methods and steps required to analyze the raw data.


Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek, Award: NWO-ALW 858.14.090