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How Do Hatcheries Influence Embryonic Development of Sea Turtle Eggs? Experimental Analysis and Isolation of Microorganisms in Leatherback Turtle Eggs

AutorPatiño-Martínez, Juan ; Molist, Adolfo; Quiñones, Liliana ; Abella, Elena ; Muriel, Roberto ; Diéguez-Uribeondo, Javier
Fecha de publicaciónene-2012
CitaciónJ. Exp. Zool. 317:47–54, 2012
ResumenMany conservation programs consider translocation of turtle nests to hatcheries as a useful technique. The repeated use of the same incubation substrate over several seasons in these hatcheries could, however, be harmful to embryos if pathogens were able to accumulate or if the physical and chemical characteristics of the incubation environment were altered. However, this hypothesis has yet to be tested. We conducted two field experiments to evaluate the effects of hatchery sand and eggshell decay on the embryonic development of leatherback sea turtle eggs in Colombia. We identified the presence of both fungi and bacteria species on leatherback turtle eggs. Sea turtle eggs exposed to previously used hatchery substrates or to decaying eggshells during the first and middle third of the embryonic development produced hatchlings that were smaller and/or weighed less than control eggs. However, this did not negatively influence hatching success. The final third of embryonic development seems to be less susceptible to infection by microorganisms associated with decaying shells. We discuss the mechanisms that could be affecting sea turtle egg development when in contact with fungi. Further studies should seek to understand the infection process and the stages of development in which the fungi are more virulent to the eggs of this critically endangered species
Versión del editorhttp://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jez.719/pdf
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