Simple Summary Before protecting sea turtles' nesting sites from coastal development, these sites must be identified and evaluated. This is particularly difficult with minor nesting sites distributed over large areas. We report on the case of Sicily, the largest Mediterranean island with 464 km of sandy shores, where sea turtle nesting activity was basically unknown until recent years when specific projects focused on this topic. This may be the case for many other areas. A total of 323 nests have been reported in the 1944-2021 period (mostly in the last decade). However, the real number of nests occurring annually is still unknown and more research and monitoring is needed. In sea turtles, sex is determined by the incubation temperature, with high temperatures producing more females, and with global warming the scarcity of males may become a problem. Nests in Sicily seem to produce more males and therefore this area may be important for the species' conservation in the future. Identifying coastal tracts suitable for sea turtle reproduction is crucial for sea turtle conservation in a context of fast coastal development and climate change. In contrast to nesting aggregations, diffuse nesting is elusive and assessing nesting levels is challenging. A total of 323 nesting events by the loggerhead sea turtle Caretta caretta have been reported in Sicily, the largest Mediterranean island, in the 1944-2021 period, mostly in the last decade. Specific monitoring efforts are the most likely explanation for such an increase and shows that sea turtle nesting may be underestimated or completely ignored in many areas with scattered nesting. The real nesting level along the 464 km sandy shores of Sicily is still unknown and more research is needed. The observed incubation period was relatively long (57 d) suggesting that a majority of males are produced in Sicily, in contrast to the typical female-biased sex ratio of sea turtles. In a context of climate warming producing sex ratios more skewed towards females, the potential of Sicily as a male-producing area should be further investigated. Other reproductive parameters are provided, such as clutch size and hatching and emergence success. A negative effect of relocation on the latter two was observed.

Minor Sea Turtle Nesting Areas May Remain Unnoticed without Specific Monitoring: The Case of the Largest Mediterranean Island (Sicily, Italy)

Baldi, Giulia;Casale, Paolo
2022-01-01

Abstract

Simple Summary Before protecting sea turtles' nesting sites from coastal development, these sites must be identified and evaluated. This is particularly difficult with minor nesting sites distributed over large areas. We report on the case of Sicily, the largest Mediterranean island with 464 km of sandy shores, where sea turtle nesting activity was basically unknown until recent years when specific projects focused on this topic. This may be the case for many other areas. A total of 323 nests have been reported in the 1944-2021 period (mostly in the last decade). However, the real number of nests occurring annually is still unknown and more research and monitoring is needed. In sea turtles, sex is determined by the incubation temperature, with high temperatures producing more females, and with global warming the scarcity of males may become a problem. Nests in Sicily seem to produce more males and therefore this area may be important for the species' conservation in the future. Identifying coastal tracts suitable for sea turtle reproduction is crucial for sea turtle conservation in a context of fast coastal development and climate change. In contrast to nesting aggregations, diffuse nesting is elusive and assessing nesting levels is challenging. A total of 323 nesting events by the loggerhead sea turtle Caretta caretta have been reported in Sicily, the largest Mediterranean island, in the 1944-2021 period, mostly in the last decade. Specific monitoring efforts are the most likely explanation for such an increase and shows that sea turtle nesting may be underestimated or completely ignored in many areas with scattered nesting. The real nesting level along the 464 km sandy shores of Sicily is still unknown and more research is needed. The observed incubation period was relatively long (57 d) suggesting that a majority of males are produced in Sicily, in contrast to the typical female-biased sex ratio of sea turtles. In a context of climate warming producing sex ratios more skewed towards females, the potential of Sicily as a male-producing area should be further investigated. Other reproductive parameters are provided, such as clutch size and hatching and emergence success. A negative effect of relocation on the latter two was observed.
2022
Prato, Oleana Olga; Paduano, Valentina; Baldi, Giulia; Bonsignore, Salvatore; Callea, Gerlando; Camera, Carlo; Culmone, Girolamo; D'Angelo, Stefania; Fiorentino, Diego; Galia, Gino; Coriglione, Salvatore; Genco, Laura; Mazzotta, Giuseppe; Napolitano, Nicola; Palazzo, Francesco Paolo; Palilla, Giuseppe; Pelletti, Santo Dylan; Mingozzi, Toni; Agresti, Luigi; Casale, Paolo
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/1181173
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