Abbreviated Journal Title
allochthonous input, barrier island ecology; Caretta caretta; Chelonia; mydas; facilitation; green turtle; loggerhead; nitrogen deposition; nutrient transport; sea oats; stable isotopes; Uniola paniculata; UNIOLA-PANICULATA; AMMOPHILA-BREVILIGULATA; TERRESTRIAL ECOSYSTEMS; TERRAPIN EGGS; MARINE; ISLAND; FLORIDA; NUTRIENTS; DYNAMICS; SEABIRDS; Ecology
Sea turtle nesting presents a potential pathway to subsidize nutrient-poor dune ecosystems, which provide the nesting habitat for sea turtles. To assess whether this positive feedback between dune plants and turtle nests exists, we measured N concentration and delta N-15 values in dune soils, leaves from a common dune plant ( sea oats [Uniola paniculata]), and addled eggs of loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and green turtles ( Chelonia mydas) across a nesting gradient ( 200 - 1050 nests/km) along a 40.5-km stretch of beach in east central Florida, USA. The delta N-15 levels were higher in loggerhead than green turtle eggs, denoting the higher trophic level of loggerhead turtles. Soil N concentration and delta N-15 values were both positively correlated to turtle nest density. Sea oat leaf tissue delta N-15 was also positively correlated to nest density, indicating an increased use of augmented marine-based nutrient sources. Foliar N concentration was correlated with delta N-15, suggesting that increased nutrient availability from this biogenic vector may enhance the vigor of dune vegetation, promoting dune stabilization and preserving sea turtle nesting habitat.
Hannan, Laura B.; Roth, James D.; Ehrhart, Llewellyn M.; and Weishampel, John F., "Dune vegetation fertilization by nesting sea turtles" (2007). Faculty Bibliography 2000s. 7204.