Post-emergence handling of green turtle hatchlings: improving hatchery management worldwide

van de Merwe, J. P., Ibrahim, K. and Whittier, J. M. (2013) Post-emergence handling of green turtle hatchlings: improving hatchery management worldwide. Animal Conservation, 16 3: 316-323. doi:10.1111/j.1469-1795.2012.00603.x


Author van de Merwe, J. P.
Ibrahim, K.
Whittier, J. M.
Title Post-emergence handling of green turtle hatchlings: improving hatchery management worldwide
Journal name Animal Conservation   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1367-9430
1469-1795
Publication date 2013-06
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1469-1795.2012.00603.x
Open Access Status
Volume 16
Issue 3
Start page 316
End page 323
Total pages 8
Place of publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Hatcheries are commonly used to protect sea turtle eggs from poaching and predation; however, there is currently limited scientific evidence to support good hatchery management practices, particularly post-hatching. This study investigated the effects of retaining hatchlings in hatcheries after emergence and delaying nest excavations on the quality of green turtle Chelonia mydas hatchlings. In addition, the effect of artificial lighting on the sea-finding ability of green turtles was investigated to highlight the importance of hatchling release locations on hatchery beaches. Hatchling running speed, an indicator of vigour and predation exposure, progressively decreased when hatchlings were retained in the hatchery for 1, 3 and 6 hours following emergence. Similarly, body condition (mass : straight carapace length), an indicator of dehydration and/or energy consumption, decreased after being retained for 3 and 6 hours. It was estimated that hatchlings retained for 6 hours after emergence would become significantly dehydrated and double their exposure to beach slope predation. Residual hatchlings that were immediately excavated from emerged nests had similar running speed and body condition to naturally emerged siblings. However, residual hatchlings removed from nests 5 days later had significantly reduced running speed and body condition, resulting in estimates of double the exposure to predation in near-shore areas. The mean angle of hatchling dispersal varied at different sites along the Ma’Daerah beach in relation to proximity to artificial lighting. Important recommendations for post-hatching management of sea turtle hatcheries worldwide can be made from the results of this study. To maximize release of hatchlings in the best condition as is possible, hatchlings should be released immediately after emergence, including excavation of any residual hatchlings. In addition, the dispersal angles of hatchlings should be tested at each hatchery beach to determine suitable release sites for efficient dispersal.
Keyword Hatchling quality
Hatchling condition
Running speed
Artificial lighting
Sea-finding ability
Malaysia
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Biomedical Sciences Publications
 
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