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ESR 50:63-73 (2023)  -  DOI:

Thermal conditions of green turtle (Chelonia mydas) nests in the largest rookery in the eastern Mediterranean

Oğuz Türkozan1,*, Can Yılmaz2,3, Vasiliki Almpanidou4, Matthew H. Godfrey5,6,7, Antonios D. Mazaris4

1Aydın Adnan Menderes University, Faculty of Arts and Science, Department of Biology, 09010 Aydın, Turkey
2Hakkari University, Vocational School of Health Services, 30000 Hakkari, Turkey
3Consultant WWF-Turkey, Büyük Postane Caddesi, No.19, Kat 5, 34420 Eminönü, Istanbul, Turkey
4Department of Ecology, School of Biology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
5North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Beaufort, NC 28516, USA
6Duke Marine Laboratory, Nicholas School of Environment, Duke University, Beaufort, NC 28516, USA
7Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Climate change impacts on vertebrates have many implications. The thermal conditions of vertebrates during incubation are known to influence morphological, physiological, and behavioral traits. Thus, incubation temperatures have consequences for ecological and evolutionary processes, and for certain reptiles can determine sex. For oviparous reptiles, information on the thermal environment of nests is often used to estimate sex ratio, metabolic heat, and their effects on hatching success. This critical baseline information is not always available for all species in all regions, hampering our ability to design analyses that could direct future management and conservation actions. Such is the case for green turtles in the Mediterranean, which nest at many different sites but few of which have had their thermal environment documented in detail. We recorded temperature in 225 green turtle nests (between 2009 and 2013) and 12 control sites in the sand (15, 30, and 45 m distance from high tide line between 2010 and 2013) at 75 cm depth at Akyatan beach, Turkey. The mean temperature of the nests ranged from 28.4 to 33.5°C, and those experiencing high temperatures exhibited low hatching success. The observed thermal environment within the nests exhibited a narrow range relative to the control sites, with daily temperature fluctuations in nests ranging from 0.1°C up to 4.5°C. The nest temperature was strongly negatively correlated with incubation duration, while metabolic heating was highest in the last third of the incubation duration, and was significantly correlated to clutch size.

KEY WORDS: Temperature-dependent sex · Chelonia mydas · Climate change · Metabolic heating

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Cite this article as: Türkozan O, Yılmaz C, Almpanidou V, Godfrey MH, Mazaris AD (2023) Thermal conditions of green turtle (Chelonia mydas) nests in the largest rookery in the eastern Mediterranean. Endang Species Res 50:63-73.

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