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Author Price, J.T.; Drye, B.; Domangue, R.J.; Paladino, F.V.
Title Exploring The Role of Artificial Lighting in Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta) Nest-Site Selection and Hatchling Disorientation Type Journal Article
Year 2018 Publication Herpetological Conservation and Biology Abbreviated Journal
Volume 13 Issue 2 Pages 415-422
Keywords Animals
Abstract Beachfront artificial lighting can deter nesting sea turtles and disrupt the seaward orientation of hatchlings following their emergence from the nest. We investigated the effects of variable artificial lighting along the 17.5-km beachfront of St. George Island, Florida, USA on both nesting and hatchling Loggerhead Turtles (Caretta caretta). We hypothesized that illumination affects nest-site selection and hatchling orientation of Loggerhead Turtles. We predicted that zones with higher artificial luminance levels would have a reduced number of nests laid by Loggerhead Turtles, as well as an increased hatchling disorientation rate. We divided the beachfront into zones 500 m in length and recorded nighttime luminance measurements with a photometer throughout the 2015 nesting season. The 2015 luminance values were analyzed together with Loggerhead Turtle nesting data from the 2015 season, as well as related to a longer-term dataset from 2011–2015. We found a negative relationship between nestsite selection and the intensity of artificial luminance, such that the brighter zones along the beachfront had fewer nests. Within this relationship, we found that nest density was significantly lower above a beachfront luminance value of ~800 μcd/m2. Finally, we found that hatchling disorientations occurred more frequently in zones with greater luminance. While many factors can affect nesting and hatchling Loggerhead behavior, our results suggest that variable intensities of artificial lighting at a nesting site may lead to a spatially clumped arrangement of nests and hatchling disorientations. These results can help improve the conservation and protection of nesting habitat as they further our understanding of the effects of artificial beachfront lighting on Loggerhead Turtles.
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Call Number (up) NC @ ehyde3 @ Serial 2106
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