Heavy metals in blood and in nests affect reproduction parameters in Eretmochelys imbricata, Linnaeus, 1766 (Testudines: cryptodira)

Thyara Noely Simões, Arley Candido Silva, Andre Mauricio Santos, Cristiano Aparecido Chagas


In this study, blood, eggshells, and nest sediments of sea turtles Eretmochelys imbricata, collected during their reproductive period, were analyzed by X-Ray fluorescence to determine the presence and concentrations of Ni, Co, Cu, Pb and Cr. Moreover, we analyzed the possible interference of such metals in some reproductive data. All elements were detected in low concentrations. Ni was the element found in the highest concentrations in the blood, eggshells, and sediment. Our results demonstrated that females with the highest concentrations of Ni in their blood presented fewer eggs in their nests; and that when the concentration of Cu in their blood is higher, the number of eggs increases. Cu has a different effect when in the sediments covering the nests; Cu concentrations in the sediment appear to be related to an increase in dead embryos. Hence, our results demonstrate that sea turtles are exposed and contaminated by heavy metals, and that such metals may influence the reproduction of hawksbill turtles E. imbricata, and probably other species of sea turtles.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5132/eec.2019.01.08


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