The temperature data loggers are left to record in clutches of marine turtles at the time of laying.This provides essential data as part of a worldwide conservation project.
The Centre for Ecology and Conservation is using Tinytags for
critical temperature monitoring of marine turtles' nests.
Located at the University of Exeter's Cornwall Campus, the
Centre is one of the largest groups of academic researchers in the
UK focusing on whole animal biology. One of the groups within this
unit studies the biology and conservation of marine turtles,
working all over the world with long term study sites in Cyprus and
Ascension Island. One of the major research interests of Dr Annette
Broderick, one of the academics within this group, is how marine
turtles will adapt to changing climate. The sex of marine turtle
offspring is determined by the temperature at which the eggs
incubate, and with rising global temperatures it is likely that
more female offspring will be produced. For over fifteen years the
Group has been monitoring the temperature in clutches of marine
turtles in Cyprus in order to predict the sex of the offspring
produced. If turtles do not adapt to increasing temperatures, by
changing when and where they nest, it may be necessary to develop
mitigation strategies, for example to move clutches to cooler
locations that produce a balanced sex ratio.
Tinytag Plus 2
temperature loggers are placed among the eggs at the time of
laying, allowing the female to then cover over her eggs naturally.
The loggers are small and robust, and able to accurately record the
temperature at hourly intervals for 40 to 60 days, the duration of
the incubation of marine turtle eggs. Once the hatchlings have dug
their way out of the nest and made their way to the sea, the
remains of the clutch are excavated, from which the researchers can
estimate hatch success and retrieve and download the recorded
temperature data from the logger. Using the easy to use Tinytag Explorer software, the researchers are able
to accurately trace the temperature cycle throughout the incubation
The Group aims to place one unit inside every nest at their long
term study site at Alagadi, North Cyprus where 200-300 clutches are
laid each year. Results have shown that current offspring sex
ratios are very female biased, and clutches that experience
temperatures above 34°C have very low success. This data allows the
scientists to predict how sex ratios may change in the future under
different scenarios of climate change.
Dr. Broderick comments, "All species of marine turtles are
listed as threatened species, and understanding their biology is
critical for successful conservation. Reliable temperature
monitoring is essential, and the accuracy of Tinytags is one of the
best on the market: they last very well in a salty and moist
environment and we replace batteries in units every two years.
Gemini has helped support our research over the years and provides
excellent customer services - often at short notice."
Photo credit: ALan F. Rees/Archelon