Authors

Casey Murray

Document Type

Internship Report

Publication Date

Spring 2017

Abstract

The relationship between nest environment characteristics and the hatch and emergence success of loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) hatchlings is not well understood and is disputed between researchers. Due to the threatened status of loggerhead sea turtle populations, it is important to understand their nest environment and the factors that could affect the reproductive output of the species. This study aimed to examine several nest environment parameters including nest depth, distance to high tide line, sand grain size, sand organic content, and clutch size to determine if any relationships existed between these factors and hatch and emergence success. Data was collected during the 2016 nesting season on Cape Sable, a loggerhead rookery located in Everglades National Park, Florida. Multiple linear regression models were built to determine the relationships of nest environment characteristics to hatch and emergence success. Distance to high tide line was significantly correlated with both hatch and emergences success and the proportion of large sand grains (d>2mm) was significantly correlated with emergence success. With the results of this study, we hope to provide a more thorough understanding of the loggerhead sea turtle nest environment and the factors that influence hatch and emergence success. Understanding the nest environment can improve sea turtle nest management strategies in an uncertain future facing climate change.

Comments

Division: MBE

MPS Track: TME

Location: Everglades National Park

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