Journal of Zoology
The Zoological Society of London
The hatching success of nests deposited by olive ridley turtles Lepidochelys olivacea
during aggregated nesting events (‘arribada’) is typically low and the underlying
mechanisms are not clear. In this study, temperature, oxygen and carbon dioxide partial pressures (PO 2 and PCO2) of in situ nests as well as nests relocated into a hatchery with clean sand were monitored throughout incubation. Hatching success of hatchery nests was significantly higher than in situ nests (83.1 vs. 21.6%) and mainly resulted from higher mortality of early-stage embryos. During the first half of incubation, temperature and PCO 2 were higher (by 0.6 1C and 0.7 kPa, respectively) and PO 2 was lower (by 1.1 kPa) within in situ relative to hatchery nests. Because embryo metabolism does not interfere significantly with nest gas contents during the first half of incubation, these results suggest that the greater content of organic matter and/or microorganisms in the sand surrounding in situ nests had an effect on nest gas contents. As PO2 and PCO2 differences were relatively small, microbial activity (such as fungal and bacterial infection) may have caused the early embryo mortality found in situ. Moreover, our results suggest that during the second half of incubation, neither PO 2 nor PCO2 reached threshold levels that resulted in the death of embryos or hatchlings. Overall, this study showed a clear benefit of using clean sand to increase hatchling production in arribada beaches and highlights the importance of further investigating the relationship between nest micro-environment, sand microbial activity and embryo development under natural conditions during these unique nesting events.
marine reptile; population dynamics; sand quality; conservation; solitary nesting;respiratory metabolism.
Animal Sciences | Biodiversity | Biology | Comparative and Evolutionary Physiology | Ecology and Evolutionary Biology | Marine Biology | Other Life Sciences | Physiology | Zoology
Frank V. Paladino (2007).
Micro-environment of olive ridley turtle nests deposited during an aggregated nesting event. Journal of Zoology.272 (2007), 367–376. The Zoological Society of London.
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