Thermal conditions in nests of loggerhead turtles: further evidence suggesting female skewed sex ratios of hatchling production in the Mediterranean

B.J. Godley, A.C. Broderick, J.R. Downie, F. Glen, Jonathan Houghton, I. Kirkwood, S. Reece, G.C. Hays

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87 Citations (Scopus)


Temperature was recorded in 23 nests of the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) and control sites of nest depth at Alagadi (35 degrees 33'N, 33 degrees 47'E), Northern Cyprus, eastern Mediterranean. Control site sand temperature was found to be highly correlated with mean daily air temperature and mean nest temperature. Mean temperature in nests ranged from 29.5 degreesC to 33.2 degreesC, with mean temperature in the middle third of incubation ranging from 29.3 degreesC to 33.7 degreesC. Hatching success was significantly correlated with incubation temperature, with nests experiencing very high temperatures exhibiting low hatching success. All nests demonstrated regular diel variation in temperature with mean daily fluctuations ranging from 0.3 degreesC to 1.4 degreesC. Increase in temperature above that of the prevailing sand temperature attributed to metabolic heating was clearly demonstrated in 14 of 15 clutches, with the mean level of metabolic heating of all nests being 0.4 degreesC. However, the level of metabolic heating varied markedly throughout the incubation period with levels being significantly higher in the final third of incubation. Incubation duration was found to be significantly correlated to both the mean temperature of nests throughout the incubation period and during the middle third of incubation. The relationship between incubation duration and mean incubation temperature was used to estimate mean incubation temperatures at most major nesting sites throughout the Mediterranean from available data on incubation durations, showing that mean incubation temperature is likely to be above 29.0 degreesC at most sites in most seasons. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-63
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Aug 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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