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M. A. Crognale, D. H. Levenson, C. A. Harms, S. A. Eckert; Spectral and Temporal Sensitivity of Adult and Hatchling Leatherback Sea Turtles. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2007;48(13):3804.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Anthropogenic lights sources have been implicated in the demise of sea turtle populations. Leatherback turtles have not been maintained successfully in captivity and their visual capacities were unknown. It was also unknown if there are significant ontogenetic changes in the visual capacities of sea turtles. We measured spectral and temporal sensitivity in adult and hatchling leatherbacks in the field.
Flicker electroretinography (ERG) was employed with anesthetized leatherbacks on a nesting beach in Trinidad.
Spectral sensitivities of leatherbacks differ from those of green and loggerhead turtles with greater sensitivity in the short wavelengths and clear evidence for more than one photoreceptor class. The temporal sensitivity of leatherbacks was poor relative to those of green and loggerhead turtles and low-pass in shape. Adult and hatchling leatherback spectral sensitivities were similar but there were differences in temporal sensitivity with hatchlings showing superior temporal response.
Our results have important implication for the management of sea turtle populations and suggest that management strategies need to carefully consider species and ontogeny.
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