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Variation in Nest Temperatures of the American Alligator Found on the Kennedy Space Center Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
NTRS Full-Text: Click to View  [PDF Size: 2.1 MB]
Author and Affiliation:
Lowers, Russell(Integrated Mission Support Services, LLC, Merritt Island, FL, United States)
Guillette, Louis J.(Medical Univ. of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, United States)
Weiss, Stephanie(Integrated Mission Support Services, LLC, Merritt Island, FL, United States)
Abstract: Information on nest temperatures of the American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) constructed in the wild is limited. Nesting temperatures during a critical thermal sensitive period determine the sex of alligators and are therefore critical in establishing the sex biases in recruitment efforts of alligators within a given community. Nest components, varying environmental conditions, and global warming could have a significant impact on nest temperatures, thus affecting future generations of a given population. One hundred and seventy four programmable thermistors were inserted into fifty eight nests from 2010 through 2015 nesting cycles. Three thermistors were placed inside each nest cavity (one on top of the eggs, one in the middle of the eggs, and one at the bottom of the clutch of the eggs) to collect temperature profiles in the incubation chamber and throughout the entire incubation period. One thermistor was also placed near or above these nests to obtain an ambient air temperature profile. Once retrieved, data from these thermistors were downloaded to examine temperature profiles throughout the incubation period as well as during the period of sexual determination. These data would help establish survival rates related to nest temperature and predict sex ratio of recruited neonates at the Kennedy Space Center. Over three million temperatures have been recorded since 2010 for the alligator thermistor study giving us insight to the recruitment efforts found here. Precipitation was the largest influence on nesting temperatures outside of daily photoperiod, with immediate changes of up to eight degrees Celsius.
Publication Date: May 23, 2016
Document ID:
(Acquired Aug 18, 2017)
Report/Patent Number: KSC-E-DAA-TN31423
Document Type: Oral/Visual Presentation
Meeting Information: Working Meeting of the Crocodile Specialist Group; 24th; 23-27 May 2016; Sakuza; South Africa
Meeting Sponsor: International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources; Gland, Switzerland
Contract/Grant/Task Num: NNK16OB01C
Financial Sponsor: NASA Kennedy Space Center; Cocoa Beach, FL United States
Organization Source: NASA Kennedy Space Center; Cocoa Beach, FL United States
Description: 40p; In English
Distribution Limits: Unclassified; Publicly available; Unlimited
Rights: Copyright; Distribution under U.S. Government purpose rights; under NASA contract NNK16OB01C
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