Green Turtle

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Artificial light alters the behavior of nesting green turtles and can be fatal to hatchlings attracted to the light sources instead of the water.

The presence of lights on or adjacent to nesting beaches alters the behavior of nesting adults and is often fatal to emerging hatchlings as they are attracted to light sources and drawn away from the water.

Because most species of sea turtles are nocturnal nesters, artificial lighting of nesting beaches may present an environmental modification that disrupts visual cues. Increasing human development adjacent to sea turtle nesting beaches worldwide has brought with it increasing levels of artificial illumination. Correlations between lighted, developed beaches and lower nesting activity by sea turtles have been observed.

Studies suggest that MV luminaires and other broad-spectrum lighting types have the potential to disrupt the nesting of loggerheads and green turtles. Some turtles have been misdirected by lighted luminaires, (primarily mercury vapor,) on their return to the ocean following nesting attempts. LPS luminaires may be an acceptable alternative where lighting on nesting beaches cannot be completely extinguished. Lighting beaches with LPS luminaires has been shown to have no significant effect on nesting in either species.

Sources: (Witherington, 1992; Witherington & Bjorndal, 1990)
Image: Will Turner

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