Artificial light disrupts turtle hatchlings
Artificial light from industrial buildings close to beaches has a disruptive effect on hatchling turtles, a recent study has found.
The report, published online in the Journal for Nature Conservation, looked at the effects of different types of artificial light on flatback and green turtles.
Its main finding was that hatchlings are best protected when urban and industrial lights are 1.5km back from beaches and shielded.
Study researcher and Pendoley Environmental director Kellie Pendoley, who has worked in environmental positions up north, said artificial light had long been a problem for turtles in the Pilbara, but little research had been done because light was difficult to study.
“The lights around Dampier Archipelago, that worries me,” she said.
“Lights from industry and ships are probably having a large impact on the hatchlings because they use light as a cue when they emerge from the sand into the ocean.”
Dr Pendoley said results from the study suggested ways to reduce urban light on beaches that could be a solution for the turtles and industry alike.
“What we can do is we can manage those lights,” she said.
“We can recommend highpressure sodium lights. We recommend reducing the intensity and number of lights as much as possible and prevent light directing into the sky.
“It’s getting industry to think about creative things like that to stop the light escaping into the sky.”
A recent report says flatback turtle hatchlings are affected by artificial light.