PROJECT TITLE: Does incubation temperature determine swimming ability of green turtle hatchlings from natural nests?
RESEARCHERS: Dr. David Booth
LOCATION: Heron Island rookery in the southern Great Barrier Reef
Listen to Dr Booth’s keynote presentation from the Inaugural Sea World Research & Rescue Foundation Dinner:
This project aimed to demonstrate that the temperature of green turtle (Chelonia mydas) nests influences the quality of hatchlings in terms of locomotor (swimming and crawling) performance.
The highest mortality in sea turtle hatchlings occurs during the period between then they escape the nest and reach off-shore waters and this mortality is directly related to their locomotor performance. Because sea turtle populations around the world are endangered or threatened, active management of sea turtle rookeries (breeding locations) is becoming increasingly common.
The information gained from this project could be used by rookery managers to identify nests that are outside the ideal temperature environments, and these nests moved to better locations in order to increase the number of sea turtle hatchlings reaching the open ocean.
During his study Dr Booth discovered:
Nest temperature influences the morphology (body) of hatchlings
Nest temperatures influences locomotor performance
Water temperature significantly influenced swimming thrust