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.
|Commitee:||Salmon, Michael, Anderson, Rindy|
|School:||Florida Atlantic University|
|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|
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