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23 December 2019 Going back to the roots: finding a strategy for the management of nesting loggerhead sea turtles in New Caledonia
Tyffen C. Read, Marion Petit, Marion Magnan, David Booth
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Abstract

Incubation temperature plays a vital role in sea turtle life history because it influences embryonic growth, sex determination and hatchling attributes such as body size, residual yolk size, self-righting ability, crawling speed and swimming speed. For these reasons there is concern that predicted increases in air temperature, as a result of global warming, will increase nest temperatures and result in decreased hatching success, decrease or cease male hatchling production, and decreased hatchling quality. In a previous study examining incubation temperature at a loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) rookery located at La Roche Percée, New Caledonia, high nest temperatures and root invasion by beach morning glory (Ipomoea pes-caprae) were found to adversely affect hatching success and locomotor performance. In the current study, we relocated loggerhead turtle nests into shaded hatcheries. Shading nests decreased sand and nest temperatures and was predicted to increase male hatchling production slightly, but nest emergence success was decreased due to invasion of cottonwood (Hibiscus tiliaceus) roots into some nests. Using shaded structures is a viable and affordable management option to counteract the high sand temperatures found on some sea turtle nesting beaches, but these shade structures need to be located some distance from trees and other plants to ensure that root penetration into nests does not adversely affect nest emergence success.

© CSIRO 2018
Tyffen C. Read, Marion Petit, Marion Magnan, and David Booth "Going back to the roots: finding a strategy for the management of nesting loggerhead sea turtles in New Caledonia," Australian Journal of Zoology 66(5-6), 394-400, (23 December 2019). https://doi.org/10.1071/ZO19051
Received: 19 July 2019; Accepted: 2 December 2019; Published: 23 December 2019
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KEYWORDS
Caretta caretta
conservation
marine turtles
South Pacific
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