Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) hatch success and essential and nonessential metals in eggs and embryos from nests in St. Kitts (2015)

Michelle M. Dennis, Robert Poppenga, Anne Conan, Kristine Hill, Sabine Hargrave, Victoria Maroun, Kimberly M. Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Northwest Atlantic leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) are endangered and low hatch success limits potential for population recovery. We examined essential and nonessential metal concentrations in 43 eggs from nests on St. Kitts to determine if there was a relationship with hatch success. Whole homogenized embryos and undeveloped eggs contained detectable concentrations of arsenic, barium, copper, iron, selenium, vanadium, and zinc, but not beryllium, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, lead, mercury, molybdenum, and thallium. Of detected metals, only vanadium concentrations negatively correlated with hatch success (P = 0.01). Manganese and vanadium were associated with pneumonia occurring in the nest, and arsenic with renal mineralization. This study adds to the knowledge regarding baseline values for environmental contaminants in sea turtles, supporting the trend that leatherback eggs have relatively low concentrations of toxic metals, lacking a strong relationship with hatch success, and normally contain the essential elements copper, iron, selenium, and zinc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111726
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Volume161
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Contaminants
  • Heavy metals
  • Pathology
  • Reproduction
  • Sea turtle
  • Trace metals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution

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