Influence of nesting place on incubation of Dermochelys coriacea Vandelli, 1761 (Testudines: Dermochelyidae) in Reserva Biológica de Comboios, norte do estado Espírito Santo, Brazil

Conrado Hastenreiter dos Santos Paulo Dias Ferreira Júnior About the authors

The place and the nesting time have great influence on the reproduction of sea turtles, as they will affect the incubation temperature of the eggs. The great dynamism of the coastal environment can cause erosion in some parts of beaches making it necessary to transfer nests to safer and suitable places for embryogenesis. This work analyzed how the nesting place influences the incubation duration and the hatching success of the eggs evaluating the effectiveness of the nests transference as a strategy of management. The incubation duration and hatching success of in situ nests of Dermochelys coriacea on the reproductive season of 2007/2008 in the Biological Reserve of Comboios, Espírito Santo State, Brazil were not influenced by the nesting time or by the characteristics of the beach, reflecting the thermal homogeneity of the nidification areas. The transferred nests presented lower incubation duration than the nests in situ. The transference of nests to safe places is a strategy of conservation and management, once D. coriacea is nesting at high energy beaches, exposed to erosion and flood. We recommend that the transferences occur to higher areas at the beach, at the limit between the open beach and the berm, but in the proximities of the original nesting site, what would minimize the differences of the thermal environment.

Leatherback; incubation; hatching; management; sediment

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