Extreme conditions reduce hatching success of green turtles (Chelonia mydas L.) at Karan Island, the major nesting site in the Arabian Gulf

R. H. Maneja*, J. D. Miller, J. B. Flint, J. F.A. Alcaria, A. U. Basali, A. V.B. Flandez, J. Gopalan, T. Duraisamy, J. B.R. Abrogueña, A. A. Bawazier, P. B. Das, S. Manokaran, Y. Y. Asiri, A. Qasem, K. Asfahani, M. A.B. Qurban

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Survival in the early life stages is a major factor determining the growth and stability of wildlife populations. For sea turtles, nest location must provide favorable conditions to support embryonic development. Hatching success and incubation environment of green turtle eggs were examined in July 2019 at Karan Island, a major nesting site for the species in the Arabian Gulf. Mean hatching success averaged at 38.8 % (range = 2.5–75.0 %, n = 14). Eggs that suffered early embryonic death (EED) and late embryonic death (LED) represented 19.8 % (range: 3.3–64.2 %) and 41.4 % (range: 4.8–92.6 %) of the clutch on average, respectively. Nest sand was either coarse (0.5–1 mm: mean 44.8 %, range = 30.4–56.9 % by dry weight, n = 14) or medium (0.25–0.5 mm: mean 33.6 %, range = 12.0–45.5 % by dry weight, n = 14). Mean sand moisture (4.0 %, range = 3.2–4.9 %, n = 14) was at the lower margin for successful development. Hatching success was significantly higher in clutches with sand salinity <1500 EC.uS/cm (n = 5) than those above 2500 EC.uS/cm (n = 5). Mean clutch temperatures at 1200 h increased by an average of 5.4 °C during the 50-d post-oviposition from 31.2 °C to 36.6 °C. Embryos experienced lethally high temperatures in addition to impacts of other environmental factors (salinity, moisture, sand grain size), which was related to reduced hatching success. Conservation initiatives must consider the synergistic influence of the above parameters in formulating strategies to improve the overall resilience of the green turtle population in the Arabian Gulf to anthropogenic and climate change-related stressors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114801
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Volume190
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Arid environment
  • Incubation environment
  • Nesting beach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution

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