Navigation Links
Cost of hatchling turtles' dash for freedom
Date:12/11/2008

A newly hatched sea turtle's first swim is the most critical of its life. Having run the gauntlet of air and land predators to make it to the sea, the tiny voyager must also evade hungry fish patrolling the beaches in its bid for freedom. For youngsters hatching on the Great Barrier Reef's coral cays the risks are high: as many as 30% perish as they head for safe deep waters. But how much does this headlong dash through the waves cost the intrepid hatchlings? Curious to know, David Booth from the University of Queensland decided to measure hatchling turtles' oxygen consumption rates as they swam for safety. Booth publishes his results in The Journal of Experimental Biology on 12th December 2008 at http://jeb.biologists.org.

Travelling north to the university's research station on Heron Island, Booth was fortunate enough to have a laboratory within metres of a green turtle nesting beach. Visiting the beach as the mothers-to-be lumbered up on to the sand, Booth was able to collect several clutches of eggs and move them to the edge of the nesting site for safety from other egg-laying mothers. Returning to the site several months later as the eggs were about to hatch, Booth intercepted several youngsters before they reached the sea. Transporting them 100metres up the beach to the research station, he fitted each hatchling with a lycra swim suit with a chord attached to a force transducer, before setting the youngster free in a seawater aquarium. As soon as they entered the water, the youngsters began swimming frantically with their large front flippers, pulling against the force transducer as if they were swimming out to sea. Meanwhile, Booth measured the youngsters' oxygen consumption as they swam for 18hours to find out how hard they were working.

Watching the youngsters' swimming style, Booth could see that initially the animals swam very hard using their front flippers with their heads down, only switching to a 'doggy paddle' as they came up for air before returning to frenzied front-flipper swimming. But as time drew on, the youngsters' activity slowed. They spent more time doggy paddling and less time pulling with their front flippers until they eventually began taking the odd break after about 12 hours.

The youngsters' progress was also reflected in the force with which they tugged on the force transducer. Setting off with a thrust of 45milliNewtons, the swimmers' thrust rapidly dropped to 35milliNewtons during the first half hour, continuing to fall more gradually over the next 10 hours before levelling off at 20milliNewtons about 12 hours after embarking.

Analysing the hatchlings' oxygen consumption, Booth found the same trend with oxygen consumption falling rapidly during the first half hour, before declining more slowly and eventually levelling off after 12 hours. So what does this mean for a young turtle as it thrashes to safety?

Calculating the amount of energy that the hatchlings consumed during their 18hours swim (4.79kiloJoule), Booth realised that the turtles carry almost 10 times as much energy in their yolk remnants as they needed to reach safety. So the youngsters aren't at risk of running out of energy before making it to safety, and Booth suspect that they can probably survive 14 days in the open ocean before finding food.


'/>"/>

Contact: Kathryn Phillips
kathryn@biologists.com
44-012-234-25525
The Company of Biologists
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. No place like home: New theory for how salmon, sea turtles find their birthplace
2. Turtles alter nesting dates due to temperature change says ISU researcher
3. Revealing the evolutionary history of threatened sea turtles
4. Study finds high mortality of endangered loggerhead sea turtles in Baja California
5. UNH researchers tag first-ever free-swimming leatherback turtles in New England
6. Leatherback turtles newly discovered migration route may be roadmap to salvation
7. Leatherback turtles go with the flow
8. Isotope analysis reveals foraging area dichotomy for Atlantic leatherback turtles
9. Research shows loggerhead sea turtles threatened by small-scale fishing operations
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/25/2016)... --  Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS ) today announced the ... Airport, New York City , to help ... enter the United States using passports that ... testing of the system at Dulles last year. The system ... January 2016. --> pilot testing of the system ...
(Date:1/20/2016)... , Jan. 20, 2016 A market ... to directly benefit from the explosion in genomics knowledge. ... Howe Sound Research. A range of dynamic trends are ... - personalized medicine - pharmacogenomics - pathogen evolution ... with large markets - greater understanding of the role ...
(Date:1/13/2016)... --> --> ... report titled - Biometric Sensors Market - Global Industry Analysis, ... to the report, the global biometric sensors market was valued at ... US$1,625.8 mn by 2023, expanding at a CAGR of ... the biometric sensors market is expected to reach 1,799.6 ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/5/2016)... 2016  In the pharmaceutical industry the medical affairs ... launch activities including the identification and engagement of key ... especially high in the oncology therapeutic area where most ... the Role of Medical Affairs in Oncology Launch Excellence ... therapies find better ways to utilize medical affairs to ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... -- Amarantus BioScience Holdings, Inc. ... products for Regenerative Medicine, Neurology and Orphan Diseases, announced ... from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for ... granted orphan drug designation (ODD) by the US FDA ... Inc. (OTCQB: AMBS), a biotechnology company ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... Francisco, CA (PRWEB) , ... February 04, 2016 ... ... of enterprise talent development and compliance training, today announced an interactive FDA ... Morf Playbook™. The RAPS (Regulatory Affairs Professional Society) accredited interactive course on ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... 2016  Sangamo BioSciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: SGMO ), ... Edward Lanphier , Sangamo,s president and chief executive ... Sangamo,s ZFP Therapeutic ® development programs and an ... ET on Thursday, February 11, 2016, at the Leerink ... conference is being held in New York ...
Breaking Biology Technology: