Term of Award

Summer 2004

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Department of Biology

Committee Chair

Bruce A. Schulte

Committee Member 1

Alan Harvey

Committee Member 2

Stephen P. Vives

Abstract

Loggerhead sea turtles, Caretta caretta, are threatened throughout their range. The Northern subpopulation nests along the coast of Georgia and northward and is less studied than the Southern subpopulation which nests in Florida. This study was conducted on Wassaw and Blackbeard Island NWRs, georgia from 2000-2003. It was determined that, for the variables mentioned, the current management practice of nest relocation was not affetcing the nests and/or hatchlings. A look at many biological parameters of C. caretta showed that many measurements, such as egg size and clutch size, had a relatively wide range whereas hatchling length had a narrow range. Nest temperature data revealed seasonal patterns of sex ratios that should be produced on these two islands. Males should be predominantly produced early in the nesting season, a female-biased sex ratio should be produced during the mid-season, and a mixed sex ration should be produced late in the season.

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