Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Loggerhead Sea Turtles Nesting Earlier Due To Warmer Ocean Temperatures

Date:
April 8, 2004
Source:
University Of Central Florida
Summary:
Loggerhead sea turtles along Florida's Atlantic coast are laying their eggs about 10 days earlier than they did 15 years ago, a change that a University of Central Florida researcher believes was caused by global warming.

Turtles are nesting earlier on Florida's beaches.
Credit: Photo Dean Bagley / Courtesy University Of Central Florida

ORLANDO, Fla., April 6, 2004 -- Loggerhead sea turtles along Florida's Atlantic coast are laying their eggs about 10 days earlier than they did 15 years ago, a change that a University of Central Florida researcher believes was caused by global warming.

John Weishampel, an associate professor of biology, found that as the near-shore ocean temperatures increased by nearly 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit from 1989 to 2003, the median nesting dates for loggerheads gradually became earlier. In 2003, half of the turtles' nests were laid before June 19, compared with before June 29 in 1989.

The earlier nesting dates raise several questions that need to be addressed in future studies, Weishampel said, including whether the turtles' food supplies -- crabs, shrimp and other invertebrates -- will be as plentiful earlier in the season and whether the hatchlings are less likely to survive if they are born earlier.

Additional studies, which will be conducted by UCF and other agencies, could lead to recommendations that governments change some of their regulations to protect sea turtles, Weishampel said. Loggerheads are classified as a threatened species by the federal government.

"Some of the management practices that have been in place -- such as lights out at certain times of the year and whether or not you're allowed to drive on the beach during certain times of the year -- could be affected," Weishampel said.

The turtles' fertility and the ratios of male to female hatchlings also could be affected by earlier nesting. The sex of hatchlings depends on the temperature of the sand.

Weishampel and two UCF colleagues, biology professor Llew Ehrhart and research associate Dean Bagley, analyzed data from about 25 miles of beaches in Brevard and Indian River counties where thousands of loggerhead turtles nest every year. About 25 percent of loggerhead nests in the United States are on that stretch of beach between Sebastian Inlet and the southern boundary of Patrick Air Force Base.

From 1989 to 2003, the average near-shore ocean temperature in May in that area increased from 76.3 to 77.7 degrees Fahrenheit, or from 24.6 to 25.4 degrees Celsius. An increase of that size is significant enough to affect animal behavior such as nesting and migration habits.

The UCF researchers' findings follow other studies showing that many species of birds are laying their eggs earlier in the year and that some flowers are blooming earlier as temperatures become warmer.

Weishampel, Bagley and Ehrhart presented their findings in late February at the International Sea Turtle Symposium in Costa Rica. Their findings also will be published in the journal Global Change Biology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Central Florida. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Central Florida. "Loggerhead Sea Turtles Nesting Earlier Due To Warmer Ocean Temperatures." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 April 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/04/040407084007.htm>.
University Of Central Florida. (2004, April 8). Loggerhead Sea Turtles Nesting Earlier Due To Warmer Ocean Temperatures. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/04/040407084007.htm
University Of Central Florida. "Loggerhead Sea Turtles Nesting Earlier Due To Warmer Ocean Temperatures." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/04/040407084007.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins