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Rudy M Ortiz Lab

Sea Turtles

Sea Turtle

As an undergraduate, I participated in a research project at Playa Nancite, Costa Rica on the physiology and behavior of "arribada" and non-arribada sea turtles. The project involved a number of graduate students under the sponsorship of Dr. David Wm. Owens at Texas A&M University. My task was to quantify predation on olive ridley sea turtles (above photo) at this nesting beach and to determine if this predatory activity had any reprocusions on this population of turtles. The list of animals predating on turtle eggs was extensive, however adult turtles were only attacked by American crocodiles.

Predation of crocodiles on the sea turtles was low and probably would not have any negative consequences on this nesting population of sea turtles. Recently, I examined the effects of short-term fresh water exposure on water flux and aldosterone concentrations in captive Kemp's ridley sea turtles. Exposure to fresh water resulted in elevations in water turnover rates and decreases in plasma osmolality and electrolytes, however aldosterone concentrations and Na+:K+ ratio were not altered. This manuscript has been submitted for review.

Sea Turtle
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Ortiz, R.M., P. Plotkin and D.W. Owens. 1997. Predation upon olive ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) by the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) at Playa Nancite, Costa Rica. (pdf 211 Kb) Chelonia Conservation and Biology 2(4):585-587. Experimental Biology 202(1):33-38.