Many environmental variables that affect incubating turtle eggs in the nest may also affect hatchling development, following hatchling emergence. However, these effects may be subtle and are largely unexamined. In this study, we analyzed the effect of sand moisture content during incubation on the postemergence growth rates of loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) in southeastern Florida. We divided 10 clutches in halves, reburied them, and exposed them to 1 of 2 treatments. At emergence, 7 clutches met minimum criteria for inclusion in the study. One halfclutch received only ambient rainfall (“dry” treatment) while the other half-clutch received ambient rainfall plus daily watering (“wet” treatment). Data loggers were used to record incubation temperatures in both groups. Hatchlings were captured at emergence and laboratoryreared over a period of ∼ 3 mo. Mass, straight carapace length (SCL), and straight carapace width (SCW) were measured weekly to track growth. Initial measurements were larger for turtles from the wet nests in all metrics. Turtles from wet nests grew more in SCW than turtles from dry nests. Turtle growth from the 2 treatments did not differ in SCL or mass measurements. Larger initial sizes and faster SCW growth may enable the turtles to more quickly achieve a refuge size from their gape-limited predators. Moisture availability during nesting season is projected to decrease based on climate change models. If that change materializes, it could negatively affect hatchling sizes and neonate growth rates, survival, and hence the recovery of this imperiled species.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.