Sea turtle hatchlings can distinguish between coastal and oceanic seawaters

Gabriel Soeiro, Eduardo Mendes da Silva, Antoine O.H.C. Leduc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Following their emergence on land, sea turtle hatchlings need to travel through the open ocean. Whether hatchlings can detect ecologically and functionally relevant chemical cues released in the marine habitat is unknown. We collected seawater at 6 and 27 km off the Brazilian coast, i.e. within and beyond the continental shelf. In a two-choice flume, we exposed post-emergent (<24 h old) loggerhead (Caretta caretta) turtles to these seawaters. Based on their life history, we posited that if hatchlings could distinguish between the seawater from these regions, they should prefer the oceanic seawater and/or avoid the coastal seawater. Hatchlings were tested singly and could access any parts of the flume. We recorded the seawater plume first visited and the time spent in each plume. Of all the first choices and time spent in a plume, nearly 70% involved the oceanic seawater. The ability of hatchlings to distinguish between seawaters could provide goal-recognition information.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Volume225
Issue number17
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Chelonian ecology
  • Chemoreception
  • Experimental ecology
  • Goal recognition
  • Seascape
  • Sensory ecology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science

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