• A varied selection of recent articles, stories and sites on the Web that is compiled by Michael J. Connor, Ph.D.
  • The links are listed as published in the relevant issue of the Tortuga Gazette.
  • Please note that all links were functioning when posted. My apologies if any are no longer available. Disabled links are present for informational purposes.
  • Click Turtle Net Picks to suggest a Net Picks addition.

Tortuga Gazette 53(6) | November/December 2017

Napa Fire Rescue
Watch fire crews rescue a "200 pound" sulcata from the Napa fires.

The Infamous Turtle Beer Koozie Harness
I hadn‘t heard the word koozie before but anything involving turtles and beer gets my attention!

Global Distribution of Reptiles Mapped

New, comprehensive survey maps the world’s reptiles.

...And the mapping has already been put to use to reveal target areas for reptile conservation.

Ancient Sea Turtle Pigmentation
Original pigment, keratin and muscle proteins have been recovered from a fossilized 54 million-year-old hatchling sea turtle!

Track Olive Ridley Sea Turtles Online
Ocearch lets you track transmittered olive ridleys and sharks on line.

Sea Turtle Conservation Hailed as a Success
After 50 years of conservation, long term growth now seen in many sea turtle populations.

The scientific report is available with open access.

Hurricane Irma

...But vagaries such as Hurricane Irma still have an acute impact.

Crash in Leatherback Births
...And declining leatherback hatchings in the US Virgin Islands is of concern.

Rehabbed Green Sea Turtles Released off Southern California
Yes, we do have sea turtles in SoCal.

Seaworld released a rehabbed green sea turtle that had been rescued from Dana Point harbor.

And the Aquarium of the Pacific released one near the mouth of the San Gabriel River.

And three olive ridleys were released off San Diego.

Sonoyta Mud Turtle
The extremely rare and localized Sonoyta mud turtle from the Arizona/Mexico border was listed as endangered.

Pacific Pond Turtles
Pacific pond turtle conservation is paying off in Washington State.

Roosevelt the Tortoise is Missing
“There are some things in this universe bigger than all of us, and a tortoise is one of them!” Great clip from the movie Lucky.

New Research

Herpetological Conservation and Biology Volume 12, Issue 2.

Radiated tortoise physiology.

Mycoplasma and clinical signs in Gopherus tortoises.

Tortuga Gazette 53(4) | July/August 2017

Desert Tortoise Genome
A draft desert tortoise genome is now available!

The journal article is open access.

Personality and Gender Predict Desert Tortoise Translocation Outcomes
Following their release, “exploratory” tortoises were more likely to find and use burrows which were beneficial to their survival. Sadly, the mortality of translocated females was twice that of males.

Translocated Male Desert Tortoises Reproduce at Lower Rates
Male tortoises might survive better than females but even relatively short distance “relocations” significantly reduced their contribution to the gene pool.

LiDAR and Aerial Imagery Used to Find Desert Tortoise Burrows
Using hi-tech to assess potential burrow locations for desert tortoise.

CTTC Seeks Homes for Desert Tortoises
Good coverage of CTTC’s desert tortoise adoption program.

Fossil Giant Tortoise from the Dominican Republic
Hispaniola yields fossils of a new species of giant tortoise (Chelonoidis marcanoi) that lived some 100,000 years ago.

Ontario Bans Snapping Turtle Hunts
Great news for Canadian snapping turtles. Ontario has now joined Manitoba, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in prohibiting hunting of this species at risk.

Temperature Dependent Sex Determination Protein
Scientists have identified a role for cold-inducible RNA-binding protein (CIRBP) in explaining why female snapping turtles are born at higher incubation temperatures.

The Genetics paper is open access.

Climate Change and Sea Turtle Sex Ratios
Is climate change producing too many female sea turtles?

Trump Administration Withdraws New Protections for California’s Leatherback Sea Turtles
On June 12, the administration withdrew the final rule to protect Leatherback sea turtles in California’s coastal waters by limiting numbers killed by the drift gillnet fishery industry.

The withdrawal notice is available in the Federal Register.

Kemp’s Ridleys Impacted by Pier Fishing
Highly endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles are being hooked on fishing lines at fishing piers in the southeast USA.

Marine Turtle Newsletter: Issue 153

African Sea Turtle Newsletter: Issue 7

Tortuga Gazette 53(2) | March/April 2017

Pleurodire and Cryptodire Differences Linked to Prey Capture
Turtles are classed as either side-necked or hidden-necked. New fossil indicates that the way turtles withdraw their head and necks is linked to how they capture prey.

Fossil of Extinct Bahaman Tortoise Yields DNA
A specimen of an extinct tortoise species that fell into a water-filled sinkhole in the Bahamas about 1,000 years ago has been recovered with some of its DNA intact.

The Big Turtle Year
New initiative of the Florida Turtle Conservation Trust seeks to raise awareness of the rich diversity, ecology, and conservation needs of turtle species occurring in the United States.

Lonesome George Goes Home
The preserved remains of Lonesome George have been returned to the Galapagos.

Tortoises Have Long Memories
Most tortoise owners already knew this, but now scientists have learned that red-footed tortoises trained to recognize specific visual cues still remember the cues when retested 18 months later.

Red Cliffs Plan Excludes New Freeway
Not sure how long this good news will last but the Bureau of Land Management’s latest plan for Red Cliffs Conservation Area excludes a right-of-way for a new freeway through the desert tortoise preserve.

Marines Plan to Displace More Desert Tortoises
Despite the ongoing population declines, yet again the agencies are allowing largescale translocation of West Mojave desert tortoises.

Green Sea Turtle Counts Overestimated?
New research indicates that green sea turtles may re-nest many more times than originally thought. Population estimates of the threatened species based on counting females on nesting beaches may have overestimated numbers by twofold.

Marine Turtle Newsletter
The latest issue of the Marine Turtle Newsletter (January 2017) is now available.

Kemp's Ridley Science
The journal Gulf of Mexico Science has a special issue on the Kemp's Ridley sea turtle available for free download.

2014 Sea Turtle Symposium Proceedings
The Proceedings of the Thirty-Fourth Annual Symposium On Sea Turtle Biology And Conservation held in New Orleans, 2014 are available for free download.

Climate Change Effects on Sea Turtles
A couple of interesting studies illustrate the need to look at the whole scenario when making predictions about turtle and tortoises.
The good news is that study of seven sea turtle species shows that while increased temperatures may increase the proportion of female hatchlings the better survival of newly hatched males and more frequent mating by adult males mean that population size will not be compromised.
The bad news is that increased sand temperatures are detrimental to all hatchlings...

Sea Turtle Hatchlings Dying in Extreme Heat On a related note, turtle hatchlings were found dying in extreme heat on Queensland's famous Mon Repos beach where a heatwave pushed the sand’s temperature to a record 75 degrees Celsius (167 degrees Farenheit).

Science of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Endangered Species Research has a special issue on the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on protected marine species including sea turtles. This is open access so downloads are free.

Box Turtle Life
On the lighter side, Fred Seitz interviews a box turtle he met while walking in a Maryland Park.