Embryo deformities and nesting trends in Kemp’s ridley sea turtles Lepidochelys kempii before and after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

Endangered Species Research
By: , and 

Links

Abstract

Kemp’s ridley sea turtles Lepidochelys kempii were disproportionately affected by the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill, which began on 20 April 2010. Embryo deformities were documented in inviable L. kempii eggs before (2008-2010) and after (2011-2013) the DWH spill in 2 Texas (USA) nesting areas (Upper Texas Coast and Padre Island National Seashore). Additional nesting trends, including clutch size and hatching success, were also investigated. Total and late-stage embryo deformity prevalence were 1.5 times greater after 2010 than before, but low in all nesting seasons (mean ± SD: 0.7 ± 8.5% total; 0.6 ± 8.0% late-stage) and did not differ between locations. Craniofacial and carapace deformities were the most frequently observed deformity types. Documented nests in both areas declined in 2010 relative to previous years, ending an exponential increase observed beginning in 1995. Clutch size remained consistent before and after the spill. Hatching success averaged 87.0 ± 33.3% in all years, but no effects from DWH were determined. Collectively, these data represent useful benchmarks against which to judge impacts of future crude oil spills and other catastrophic events.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Embryo deformities and nesting trends in Kemp’s ridley sea turtles Lepidochelys kempii before and after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
Series title Endangered Species Research
DOI 10.3354/esr01107
Volume 44
Year Published 2021
Language English
Publisher Inter-Research Science Publisher
Contributing office(s) Columbia Environmental Research Center
Description 13 p.
First page 277
Last page 289
Country United States
State Texas
Other Geospatial Padre Island
Google Analytics Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details