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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Assessing the Effects of Incubation Temperature on the Cognitive Ability of Hatchling Loggerhead (Caretta caretta) Sea Turtles
by Serra, Ivana, M.S., Florida Atlantic University, 2020, 92; 28087101
Abstract (Summary)

Under the expected warmer temperatures due to climate change, sea turtle embryos may be subjected to thermal conditions detrimental to nest success and hatchling quality; one trait which may be negatively affected is cognitive ability. In this study, loggerhead sea turtle eggs were acquired from Boca Raton, FL and lab incubated under two female-producing temperatures: an “optimal” temperature of 31°C and a sublethal temperature of 33°C. Cognitive ability of post-hatchlings, assessed via associative learning and reversal was investigated using a y-maze. The sublethal temperature decreased incubation duration, hatch success, hatchling growth rates and produced smaller hatchlings with significantly more scute anomalies. Hot hatchlings performed worse on the reversal, taking longer to train, and thus hint at an effect of incubation temperature on cognitive flexibility in loggerhead turtles. With temperatures rising on beaches in South Florida, this study provides evidence of further potential threats to hatchling quality and potentially even survival.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Milton, Sarah
Commitee: Salmon, Michael, Anderson, Rindy
School: Florida Atlantic University
Department: Biological Sciences
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: MAI 82/2(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Environmental science, Climate Change, Thermodynamics, Zoology
Keywords: Caretta caretta, Cognitive abilitiy, Loggerhead, Sea turtle
Publication Number: 28087101
ISBN: 9798664737646
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