The impacts of artificial light on marine turtles

Witherington B. E. (1992) Behavioral responses of nesting sea turtles to artificial lighting. Herpetologica 48, 31-39.

Aim: 
To examine the effects of two light types on the nesting behaviour of green and loggerhead turtles
Type of Study: 
Manipulative experiment
Key Results: 
Green and loggerhead turtle nesting was significantly reduced in areas lit with mercury vapour lamps but low pressure sodium lights did not significantly influence nesting behaviour of either species. Nesting density (emergences/km/night) was lower for both species in the area illuminated with mercury vapour lights but there was no significant difference in density between the control and low pressure sodium group. Five turtles were misdirected by lights upon return to the water, mostly during the mercury vapour treatments, but they were all able to return to the ocean without assistance.
Response: 
Use low pressure sodium lamps as an alternative to other lighting types, but the ultimate goal should be to eliminate beach-lighting altogether
Reviewer: 
Phillipa Wilson
Ecosystem: 
Coastline,Florida, USA and Tortuguero, Costa Rica
Full Reference: 
Witherington B. E. (1992) Behavioral responses of nesting sea turtles to artificial lighting. Herpetologica 48, 31-39.