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Behavior of Loggerhead Sea Turtles on an Urban Beach. I. Correlates of Nest Placement
Michael Salmon, Raymond Reiners, Craig Lavin and Jeanette Wyneken
Journal of Herpetology
Vol. 29, No. 4 (Dec., 1995), pp. 560-567
Published by: Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1564739
Page Count: 8
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Loggerhead sea turtles nesting in Florida sometimes deposit their clutches on urban beaches. This study was undertaken at a city beach to determine correlations between physical variables and where nests were placed. Over a four year period, the distribution of nests on the beach was statistically identical. Nesting density variation at particular sites was unrelated to offshore depth profiles or to beach width, but was strongly correlated with the presence of tall objects (clusters of mature Australian pine trees and rows of multi-storied condominiums) located between the beach and the city. There are no reports that females nest preferentially in front of tall objects (dune or vegetation) at natural rookeries. The response may be unique to urban rookeries where the nesting habitat is exposed to artificial lighting. Tall buildings and trees shielded the beach from city light, with the magnitude of the effect (and the number of nests) positively related to object elevation. Planting vegetation and reestablishing dunes on urban beaches may be effective methods for attracting nesting turtles to these sites.
Journal of Herpetology © 1995 Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles