Protracted rainfall decreases temperature within leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) clutches in Grenada, West Indies: Ecological implications for a species displaying temperature dependent sex determination

Jonathan Houghton, A.E. Myers, C. Lloyd, R.S. King, C. Isaacs, G.C. Hays

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

67 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Protracted or intense rainfall may affect the reproductive success of reptilian species on a number of levels ranging from the availability of prey, the integrity of the nesting site and the subsequent survivability of offspring. For sea turtles (a species displaying temperature sex determination) nesting throughout the tropics and subtropics, rainfall has previously been shown to influence the development environment of clutches; in its extreme resulting in high levels of egg or hatchling mortality. Yet when compared to other abiotic variables affecting clutch success, rainfall has received relatively little attention. We therefore examined how fluctuations in local rainfall at a tropical nesting site for leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) affected the nest environment. Temperature data loggers placed within clutches (n = 8) revealed that protracted rainfall had a marked cooling effect on nests, so that seasonally improbable male-producing temperatures (
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-77
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Volume345
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology

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