Natural beaches confer fitness benefits to nesting marine turtles

Pike, David A. (2008) Natural beaches confer fitness benefits to nesting marine turtles. Biology Letters, 4 (6). pp. 704-706.

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Abstract

Coastal ecosystems provide vital linkages between aquatic and terrestrial habitats and thus support extremely high levels of biodiversity. However, coastlines also contain the highest densities of human development anywhere on the planet and are favoured destinations for tourists, creating a situation where the potential for negative effects on coastal species is extremely high. I gathered data on marine turtle reproductive output from the literature to determine whether coastal development negatively influences offspring production. Female loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and green turtles (Chelonia mydas) nesting on natural beaches (as opposed to beaches with permanent development) produce significantly more hatchling turtles per nest; all else being equal, females that successfully produce more offspring will have higher fitness than conspecifics producing fewer offspring. Thus, female marine turtles nesting on natural beaches probably have higher fitness than turtles nesting on developed beaches. Consequently, populations nesting on natural beaches may be able to recover more quickly from the historic population declines that have plagued marine turtles, and some species may recover more quickly than others.

Item ID: 26755
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: Caretta caretta, Chelonia mydas, coastal development, coastal habitat, hatching success, natural habitat
ISSN: 1744-957X
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2013 11:03
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 100%
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