Dataset Information


A preliminary investigation into the early embryo death syndrome (EEDS) at the world's largest green turtle rookery.

ABSTRACT: Raine Island hosts the largest nesting aggregation of green turtles in the world, but nest emergence success and hence recruitment of hatchlings off the beach appear to have significantly declined since the 1990s. Nests destroyed by subsequent nesting turtles, and nest failure due to flooding account for most of the nest failure, but many nests still have poor hatch success even when undisturbed and flood-free. In undisturbed, flood-free nests that experience high mortality, embryos typically die at a very early stage of development, a phenomenon we term early embryo death syndrome (EEDS). Previous research indicates that EEDS is correlated with the number of females nesting at Raine Island during a nesting season. Here, we monitor nest temperature and oxygen (PO2) and carbon dioxide (PCO2) partial pressures during the first week after nest construction to discover if they are associated with EEDS. Our investigation found that the proportion of early embryo death was greatest in two nests that experienced the highest nest temperature, lowest PO2 and highest PCO2 during the first week of incubation suggesting that these variables either by themselves or in combination may be the underlying cause of EEDS. These two nests were located adjacent to maturing nests, so the high temperature and more extreme PO2s and PCO2s are most likely to be caused by the combined metabolism of embryos in the mature nests. Although this conclusion is based on just two nests and needs to be substantiated in future studies, it would appear that the laying of new nests in the close location to mature nests could be a significant cause of hatch failure at high density nesting sea turtle rookeries around the world.


PROVIDER: S-EPMC5918617 | BioStudies | 2018-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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