Theses and Dissertations

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Defense Date

1993

Document Type

Thesis - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

M.S. Ocean Science

Department

Oceanographic Center

First Advisor

Curtis Burney

Second Advisor

Richard Dodge

Third Advisor

Wayne Witzell

Abstract

The loggerhead sea turtle, Caretta caretta, is the most common sea turtle found nesting on Florida beaches. Burney and Mattison (1989) reported a trend towards increased loggerhead nesting in Broward County in 1989 during new and full moons. This trend was found at Hillsboro Beach in 1988 and in Broward County as a whole in 1989. These peaks in nesting activity were attributed to semilunar tidal cycles. In an effort to determine if semilunar tidal cycles do influence trends in daily loggerhead nesting density, daily loggerhead nests and total crawls (including nesting and non-nesting emergences) for the 1990 season (April 20- September 2) and for the peak of the 1990 season (May 30- July 27) were analyzed. Daily nest and total crawl counts were compared with variables based on moon phase, the nocturnal high tide time, and the rates of the incoming (flooding) and outgoing (ebbing) nocturnal high tides. There were 2,281 loggerhead nests and 4,206 total loggerhead crawls in Broward County during the entire season; there were 1,659 nests and 3,125 total crawls during the peak of the season (Burney and Mattison 1990). Comparisons were made using simple regression and correlation analyses, and indicated a trend towards increasing loggerhead emergences during the peak of the season when the nocturnal high tide was near 10 p.m.

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