The impacts of artificial light on marine turtles

Erb V. & Wyneken J. (2019) Nest-to-surf mortality of loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) hatchlings on Florida’s east coast. Frontiers in Marine Science 6, 1-10.

Aim: 
To quantify the mortality of loggerhead hatchlings on their crawl from nest to sea and to identify the sources of the mortality at a number of different sites on Florida's east coast
Key Results: 
Out of 66 nests, 7.6% did not survive to reach the water (4.2% likely mortalities, 3.4% confirmed mortalities). Ghost crabs were the most common predator and also night heron. Mortality was highest at Boca Raton (44%), a highly urbanized site but the largest cause of mortality was not predation, it was mis or disorientation due to light pollution. Predation was the next largest cause. The factors identified as important in hatchling mortality included numbers of hatchlings emerging, nest-to-surf distance, and level of urbanisation. Nest-to-surf distance, total number of hatchlings emerging and urbanization best predictors of mortality, as well as location. Small numbers of emergence was associated with higher rate of predation. Greater nest-to-surf distance resulted in higher predation. More lighting resulted in more predation. Potential that light attracted more predators?
Response: 
None No policy recommendations provided
Reviewer: 
Michele Thums
Full Reference: 
Erb V. & Wyneken J. (2019) Nest-to-surf mortality of loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) hatchlings on Florida’s east coast. Frontiers in Marine Science 6, 1-10.