Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



WATER WORLD
Satellites show Florida beaches becoming darker, and that's good for sea turtles
by Staff Writers
Orlando FL (SPX) Jan 29, 2016


The 368 one-kilometer sections of Florida beach studied by researchers are shown in red. Image courtesy University of Central Florida. For a larger version of this image please go here.

Newly published research that started as a high school science project confirms that the density of sea turtle nests on Florida beaches is reduced where artificial lights along the coast deter nesting females. But the data also show that the network of sea turtle-friendly lighting ordinances along Florida's coast seems to be working.

"It's a success story. Florida's coastlines are getting darker, and that's a good thing not just for sea turtles but for other organisms," said UCF biology professor John Weishampel, co-author of the study published last week in the journal Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation. "It shows we affect turtles' nesting, but at the same time we've been successful at reducing that effect."

The research started last year with Weishampel's son Zachary. The high school student had experience analyzing satellite imagery from an earlier project. He was looking for an idea for the science fair that would let him use that skill when his father suggested exploring how sea turtle nests have fared since cities began adopting restrictions on coastal lighting that can disorient nesting mothers.

First, they gathered data on the intensity of artificial light at night that was collected by the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program from 1992 to 2012. Then they compared it to the extensive data on nesting sea turtles collected by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for the same period.

Because Florida's human population increased by more than 40 percent during that period - adding about 5.5 million people - researchers expected to find that artificial light levels had increased, too.

But, assisted by UCF graduate student Wan-Hwa Cheng, they found that nighttime light levels had decreased for more than two-thirds of the 368 one-kilometer (.62-mile) sections of Florida beach that were examined. Some 14 percent had increased, and the rest hadn't changed.

"Sea turtle populations are doing pretty well in Florida, and it may be due in part to our coastal management," Weishampel said. "The satellite serves as a kind of policeman in the sky to see what's going on with these lighting ordinances."

About 90 percent of sea turtle nesting in the continental United States occurs in Florida, led by three main species: loggerheads, green turtles and leatherbacks. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service classifies green turtles and leatherbacks as endangered, and loggerheads as threatened.

Previous research has shown that sea turtles are impacted by artificial light. And because sea turtles are so long-lived and spend only a fraction of their lives ashore, they had little time to adapt to manmade lights. That's prompted regulations meant to reduce the amount of light near nesting beaches by mandating the type of bulbs used and requiring fixtures to be shielded and directed downward.

In some areas - such as around Kennedy Space Center, Merritt Island and Sanibel Island - the researchers found that light levels had decreased dramatically since 1992. Others, including Wabasso Beach and Jupiter Island, had increased.

The density of turtle nests is reduced where artificial light is brightest, and higher where it's dark, researchers found. They also concluded that turtles aren't impacted by beach lighting alone. Data showed that light from distant urban areas, known as "skyglow" - even from cities as far as 60 miles away - can influence a female turtle's nesting location.

An earlier study in Israel used satellite data to gauge artificial light's impact on loggerhead and green turtle nesting in the Mediterranean Sea. But the data on which it relied were not as robust as Florida's vast nesting database.

At most, the density of nests in the Israeli study was fewer than 10 per kilometer of beach. By comparison, several monitored Florida beaches have more than 700 loggerhead, 100 green and 10 leatherback nests per kilometer.

In Florida, sea turtle nesting has been increasing for all three species. The UCF research suggests that artificial lighting may not be critically impairing those turtle populations, and light mitigation policies are working.

At the same time, the adult females are only half the equation. Turtle hatchlings are lured away from the sea by artificial light, and that impact on nesting may not be felt for decades.

Even so, Weishampel said the research shows satellite-derived data can be used to determine what areas need more effective management of artificial light. It's also a useful tool to monitor more remote areas for conservation purposes.


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

.


Related Links
University of Central Florida
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
WATER WORLD
New detection method for Goby invasion
Basel, Switzerland (SPX) Jan 28, 2016
Conventional methods of stock monitoring are unsuitable for certain fish species. For example, the infestation of an area with invasive Ponto-Caspian gobies cannot be identified in time by standard methods. Researchers at the University of Basel have developed a simple, effective and cost-efficient test for these introduced non-native fish, they report in the magazine PLOS ONE. Gobies from ... read more


WATER WORLD
Ten El Faro families settle with owners of sunken US ship

China pushes inferno documentary into purgatory

Charities warn of 'desperate' plight of refugees in snow

Nepal quake rebuilding to take years, new chief says

WATER WORLD
Acoustic tweezers provide much needed pluck for 3-D bioprinting

Designing a pop-up future

Chanel swaps bling for eco-inspired haute couture

Material may offer cheaper alternative to smart windows

WATER WORLD
Replace corroded lead pipes in Flint, lawsuit demands

Climate change: Ocean warming underestimated

Pressure building on global water supply

An abundance of viruses that infect ocean microorganisms

WATER WORLD
New gravity dataset will help unveil the Antarctic continent

Melting Greenland ice sheet may affect global ocean circulation, future climate

Mounting evidence suggests early agriculture staved off global cooling

Ancient underwater volcanoes may have ended 'Snowball Earth'

WATER WORLD
Molecular method promises to speed development of food crops

Global nitrogen footprint mapped for first time

Seagrass genome sequence lends insights to salt tolerance

Earthworms could be a threat to biodiversity

WATER WORLD
Shallow earthquakes and deeper tremors along southern San Andreas fault

Alaska hit by 6.8-magnitude earthquake: USGS

Warmer Oceans Could Produce More Powerful Superstorms

More than 1,200 flee as Indonesia volcano spews ash, gas

WATER WORLD
Burkina arrests 11 failed coup soldiers after arms depot raid

Horn of Africa port Djibouti signs China trade deals

UN reduces size of peacekeeping force in Ivory Coast

Several dead as Shebab storm African Union base in Somalia

WATER WORLD
Chinese scientists create 'autistic' monkeys

The indications of a new geological epoch marked by human impact are clear

Why are habits so hard to break

Evidence of a prehistoric massacre extends the history of warfare




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement