The impacts of artificial light on marine turtles

Mazor T., Levin N., Possingham H. P., Levy Y., Rocchini D., Richardson A. J. & Kark S. (2013) Can satellite-based night lights be used for conservation? The case of nesting sea turtles in the Mediterranean. Biological Conservation 159, 63-72.

Aim: 
To examine the influence of night time lighting on sea turtle nesting distribution over a 19 year period using satellite imagery obtained at two different spatial resolutions
Type of Study: 
Remote sensing
Key Results: 
The total number of turtle nests and occupancy (presence/absence) was lower in areas with night lighting, particularly in areas where light was brightest. There were more nests and occupancy was higher in darker sections of the coastline. Satellite imagery at higher resolution was slightly better at detecting a difference; however the lower resolution imagery still detected an effect of light on nesting behaviour. In addition to light, human population density and infrastructure negatively influenced turtle nesting and occupancy, but the presence of cliffs had a positive influence.
Response: 
Remote sensing techniques canassist with conservation planning and management as it allows broad scale patterns to be identified at large spatial scales.
Reviewer: 
Phillipa Wilson
Ecosystem: 
Coastline, eastern Mediterranean, Israel
Full Reference: 
Mazor T., Levin N., Possingham H. P., Levy Y., Rocchini D., Richardson A. J. & Kark S. (2013) Can satellite-based night lights be used for conservation? The case of nesting sea turtles in the Mediterranean. Biological Conservation 159, 63-72.