Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Heat Could Be Stifling Turtles’ Swimming Abilities In Australia

Date:
March 10, 2009
Source:
The University of Queensland
Summary:
It seems we're not the only ones struggling to adapt to the summer weather -- Australian researchers have found the increased temperatures may be affecting turtles too. Scientists found that green turtle hatchlings from Heron Island weren't swimming as well as expected.

Turtle on Heron Island.
Credit: Image courtesy of The University of Queensland

It seems we're not the only ones struggling to adapt to the summer weather – University of Queensland researchers have found the increased temperatures may be affecting turtles too.

Related Articles


Zoologist Dr David Booth, from UQ's School of Biological Sciences, said green turtle hatchlings from Heron Island weren't swimming as well as usual.

“The 2008-2009 green turtle nesting season on Heron Island has seen the highest nest temperatures recorded at this site, with many nests having average temperatures above 31 degrees, and experiencing temperatures above 35 degrees during the last week of incubation,” Dr Booth said.

“Initial impressions are that hatchlings emerging from these hot nests are not as strong swimmers as hatchlings coming from cooler nests recorded in previous years.

“If climate change results in consistently high nest temperatures in the future, then the poorer swimming ability of hatchlings emerging from hot nests may have a negative impact on recruitment of hatchlings from coral cays because predation rate is thought to be related to swimming ability.”

Basing his research at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef at UQ's Heron Island Research Station, Dr Booth took advantage of the unique laboratory facilities that are within metres of a green turtle nesting beach.

“My research involves going out and collecting fresh eggs as they're being laid by the females, moving them into other nests that are not going to get dug up by other females and then coming back about five to six weeks later to sample the hatchlings to measure their swimming performance,” he said.

“As we all know, the temperature of the earth is changing and as things warm up the nests are going to warm up and I was interested to see if that might have an affect on the quality of the hatchlings.”

Dr Booth said nest temperature determined the sex of sea turtles, suggesting that a warmer climate may have other implications for the endangered species.

“When the eggs are laid they can be either males or females,” he said.

“If it's a relatively cool nest they turn out to be males and if it's a relatively warm nest they turn out to be females.”

Previous research conducted by Dr Booth at Heron Island, and published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, investigated how much energy the hatchlings needed to reach safe deep water.

Calculating the amount of energy the hatchlings consumed during an 18 hour swim, Dr Booth said the turtles carried almost 10 times as much energy in their yolk remnants as they needed to reach safety.

“So the youngsters aren't at risk of running out of energy before making it to safety,” he said.

“They can probably survive 14 days in the open ocean before finding food.”


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

The University of Queensland. "Heat Could Be Stifling Turtles’ Swimming Abilities In Australia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090227095000.htm>.
The University of Queensland. (2009, March 10). Heat Could Be Stifling Turtles’ Swimming Abilities In Australia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090227095000.htm
The University of Queensland. "Heat Could Be Stifling Turtles’ Swimming Abilities In Australia." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090227095000.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) Mother Nature is pulling a trick on the kids of Arviat, Canada. As Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) tells us, the effects of global warming caused the town to ban trick-or-treating this Halloween. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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