Sun exposure, nest temperature and loggerhead turtle hatchlings: implications for beach shading management strategies at sea turtle rookeries

  • Published source details Wood A., Booth D.T. & Limpus C.J. (2014) Sun exposure, nest temperature and loggerhead turtle hatchlings: implications for beach shading management strategies at sea turtle rookeries. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 451, 105-114.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Provide artificial shade for nests or nesting sites

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Provide artificial shade for nests or nesting sites

    A replicated, controlled study in 2009–2010 on a beach in Queensland, Australia (Wood et al. 2014) found that shading loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta nests lead to larger hatchlings that moved and self-righted faster compared to unshaded nests, but hatching success and hatchling weight remained similar. Shaded hatchling carapace sizes were larger (1,545–1,597 mm2), hatchlings crawled faster (5–6 cm/second) and self-righted faster (2–3 s) than unshaded hatchlings (size: 1,484 mm2, speed: 4 cm/second, self-righting time: 3 s), although shaded hatchling weight (20–21 g) was similar to unshaded hatchlings (20 g). Hatching success was similar between shaded nests (80–84 %) and unshaded nests (83%). Hatchlings were monitored in sites with three levels of artificial shading (4 h direct sun/day: eight clutches; 1.5 h direct sun/day: seven clutches; 0.5 h direct sun/day: seven clutches, average temperature of shaded nests: 30–31°) or in unshaded sites (9.5 h direct sun/day, six clutches, average temperature 32°). Artificial shade was provided with a rectangular synthetic shade cloth allowing 70% solar radiation positioned parallel to the shore. Clutches of eggs were collected from individual nesting loggerhead turtles in December 2009, eggs counted, and nests relocated. On emergence, hatchlings were weighed, measured and tested for crawl speed and righting responses before being released.

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

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