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Leatherback hatchling sea-finding in response to artificial lighting: Interaction between wavelength and moonlight

Autor Rivas, Marga L.; Santidrián Tomillo, Pilar; Diéguez-Uribeondo, Javier; Marco, Adolfo
Palabras clave Light pollution
Sea turtles
Tourist development
Costa Rica
Fecha de publicación 2015
Citación Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 463: 143- 149 (2015)
Resumen© 2014 Elsevier B.V. Over the last decades, growing human populations have led to the rising occupation of coastal areas over the globe causing light pollution. For this reason, it is important to assess how this impact threatens endangered wildlife. Leatherback turtles ( Dermochelys coriacea) face many threats of anthropogenic origin including light pollution on nesting beaches. However, little is known about the specific effects. In this study we studied the effect of different light wavelengths (orange, red, blue, green, yellow and white lights) on hatchling orientation under the presence and absence of moonlight by analyzing: (i) the mean angle of orientation, (ii) crawling duration, and (iii) track patterns.Hatchling orientation towards the sea was always better under controlled conditions. In the absence of moonlight, leatherback hatchlings were phototaxically attracted to the experimental focus of light (misoriented) for the colours blue, green, yellow and white lights. Orange and red lights caused a lower misorientation than other colors, and orange lights produced the lowest disrupted orientation (disorientation). On nights when moonlight was present, hatchlings were misorientated under blue and white artificial lights. Crawling duration was low for misoriented hatchlings and high for the disoriented individuals. Our conclusion to this is that hatchlings can detect and be impacted by a wide range of the light spectrum and we recommend avoiding the presence of artificial lights on nesting beaches. Additionally, actions to control and mitigate artificial lighting are especially important during dark nights when moonlight is absent.
URI http://hdl.handle.net/10261/114732
Identificadoresdoi: 10.1016/j.jembe.2014.12.001
issn: 0022-0981
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