Development of Dalyan Project
Dalyan Beach is one of the sea turtle nesting sites in Turkey where most researches took place. The first study in the region was conducted by Remzi Geldiay and his crew in 1980's. Second study conducted in the region was the amateur research by the Marine Group of METU (Middle East Technical University) together with Hacettepe University, Department of Biology in 1987.
Ali Fuat Canbolat, Ph.D has conducted scientific researches in Dalyan Beach for his Master Thesis in 1988-1989 and for his Ph.D Thesis in 1990-1993. Other studies in the region have been carried out by Dokuz Eylül University and Hacettepe University in the following years.
The Sea Turtle Research Team (STRT) has started its researches in Dalyan Beach in 1999 under the sponsoring of the Authority for Protecting Special Areas (APSA). STRT team has continued its studies in the region in 2000 despite no financial support of any association or institutions. Continuity of studies in the region seems to be possible only if the expenses of the project can be covered.
For help and Sponsoring;firstname.lastname@example.org
General Information About the Region
Dalyan Beach is located in Muğla province and in borders of Ortaca-Dalyan region. The region has been sentenced as "Köyceğiz-Dalyan Special Protection Area" by the Council of Ministries in 12.06.1988, sentence number: 88/13019. Borders of the region have been extended and recoordinated by the Council of Ministries in 18.01.1990, sentence number: 90/77.
The region is composed of Lake Köyceğiz with an area of about 55km², a 10km long channel connecting the lake and the sea, a delta site formed where the channel approaches the sea and a beach in front of this. Mountain chains covered with forests border the east and the west side of this system. Köyceğiz, Dalyan, Ekincik, Çandır and Gökbel are the main centers of population close to the system. Within the borders of Köyceğiz, ancient city of Caunos and thermal springs are also present.
Standard of living in Köyceğiz is mainly based on agriculture. Therefore in Dalyan housing a population of about 3000, dependence on land and especially the conventional standard based on cotton farming has changed; leading to the usage of present resources as investment factors for tourism on both individual and regional levels.
Population in Dalyan may reach several times of its original level during a tourism season. Furthermore, a considerable amount of tourists come to the region via daily tours from Marmaris, Fethiye and Bodrum. Apart from agriculture in rural centers, fishing and bee farming is also developed in the region (Özer and Karakoç, 1992).
Köyceğiz-Dalyan has a Mediterranean climate, thus it presents the typical flora characteristics of this climate type. The region is very rich in plant cover. Presence of 924 taxons (on species and subspecies level) has been determined in floristic studies of Güner et al. (1996). 19 Pisces species (Yerli, 1989) are present in the region, living in Lake Köyceğiz and related water springs or entering the system via several causes. Extensive researches in Special Protection Area have identified 5 turtle, 11 lizard, 13 snake and 18 mammalian species (Baran et al., 1994) in the region.
West end of Dalyan Beach is bordered by Dalyanağzı=Gullet where Lake Köyceğiz reaches the sea, while the east end is surrounded by a mountains bordering the north and east of Lake Iztuzu. The length of the beach is 4,2km and water depth is very low in sites facing the sea (referred in this study as "Gullet Side"). The Small Beach is located in the west part of Dalyan Gullet and is about 400 meters. Water depth is about 4m in sites facing the lake. Width of the sand zone varies between 75m and 200m, with an average width of 125 meters.
Delta site, which covers a considerable area between Dalyan Beach and Lake Köyceğiz, consists of a channel system divided by reeds ad rushes with a length up to 3m. Inner sections of reeds are coveered with rushy or agricultural areas consisting of very low (0-0.5 m) flat alluvium masses.
Sponsors of Dalyan Project
Field Research in Dalyan Beach
Field studies carried out by STRT in the region in 1999 and 2000 have been conducted during June-September 1999 with teams consisting of 4-6 people regarding the periods when adult females and hatchlings emerge. Data collection during this period have been carried out between 06°°-12°° in morning shifts and between 21°°-05°° in night shifts by monitoring the sections with teams of 2-3 people.
For conducting field research, a research camp is established on sand in the middle section of Dalyan Beach. As the camping place is about 15km far from Dalyan, boats of Dalyan and Çandır Boatmen Coop. and Dalko Fishing Coop. have been used.
Despite all the difficulties of camp life, all persons and affiliations that have aid the research team have helped this project come true. We would like to thank especially to the managers of buffets on the beach and to the boatmen and fishing cooperatives helping in transportation for their contribution.
Importance of Dalyan Beach in terms of Sea Turtles
First attempts and studies for the conservation of sea turtles in Turkey have come in question as a result of a hotel construction in Iztuzu part of Dalyan Beach. With the superior efforts of various national and international affiliations, construction of the hotel was ceased and during these zealous studies, sea turtles were put on Turkey's agenda as an endangered species.
Dalyan Beach is recognized as the most important nesting beach of Caretta caretta in Turkey when nesting density (nests/km) is regarded. Annual nesting number in the region is about 250.
Dalyan Beach also has an attribute as the best-preserved beach, while various problems are still present in Turkey's nesting beaches. It is pleasing that beach usage regulation is kept on a certain level despite the rising demands. Entrance to the beach at night is entirely prohibited. Salaried watchmen are employed by the APSA in order to control beach usage and to prevent entrance to the beach at night.
Conservation and Problems of Sea Turtles in the Region
The most important factors threatening sea turtles in the region are the demand on beach usage, traffic in the sea and the dense fox predation on both eggs and the hatchlings. Inability to provide sufficient information for visitors is also an important deficiency in Dalyan Beach, which has became identical with sea turtles.
Although beach usage in Dalyan has proceeded on a certain level, it is hard to say that serious precautions are taken against the dense fox predation in the region.
It is strongly required to take serious precautions against present fox predation and to continue these studies for the survival of sea turtles in the region
Photos: Ali Fuat Canbolat Ph.D