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ATP WEEKLY TURTLE BULLETIN

No. 157, 14th November 2014


1. Tortoise's Unique Breathing Apparatus: Origins Revealed For The First Time

SOURCE: hngn.com – DATE: 9th November 2014
Researchers have gained a better understanding of the evolutionary process that helped develop tortoises' unique breathing apparatuses and shells. 

Tortoises have developed a unique abdominal muscle string that wraps around the lungs and organs and helps them breathe. In the past, it has been a mystery when and how this one-of-a-kind mechanism developed.  Researchers have now discovered this breathing apparatus was present in the earliest tortoise fossils called Eunotosaurus africanus. The ancient ancestor lived in South Africa 260 million years ago and lacked a shell. The finding helps bridge the gap between the early body plan of  tortoises and what they have developed into today. 

The study suggests that, over time, the tortoise's body slowly increased in rigidity and a division of function between the ribs and abdominal respiratory muscles developed. As this occurred, the rib cage became less adept at breathing, which forced the abdominal muscles to overcompensate. 
The findings were published on the 7th of November in the journal Nature Communications. 

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (English)

 

2. India: Fishing hook pierced near heart, pregnant turtle saved by surgery

SOURCE: timesofindia.indiantimes.com – DATE: 11th November 2014
This turtle's a survivor. Children from Chembur (Mumbai, India) found the the pregnant Indian flapshell Turtle (Lissemys punctata) on Saturday with a fishermans hook in its mouth.  The hook had lodged in muscles close to its heart, after two and a half hours of surgery the hook was successfully removed.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

3. The USA: Endangered green sea turtle recovering from surgery to remove life-threatening tumors
SOURCE: phys.org - DATE: 11th November 2014
An endangered Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) rescued last month in the lower Florida Keys was recovering today after surgery performed Friday to remove potentially life-threatening tumors from its eyes.
Krueger, who named the turtle IFAS was suffering from fibropapillomatosis. Left untreated, the virus causes fibrous tumors to grow over a turtle's eyes, mouth and other body cavities, interfering with its ability to find and eat food. The deadly disease is specific to sea turtles but most common in green turtles.
IFAS has already had some of his tumors removed and appears to have regained sight in one eye, Krueger said. He'll soon have more surgery to remove tumors and will remain at The Turtle Hospital under quarantine for about a year to make sure the tumors do not recur, because the condition is contagious.

Link to this web article online (English)

sea turtle recovery from tumor remove surgery
© The Turtle Hospital


loggerhead turtle egg
©
Lumina News

4. DNA data dispels sea turtle mysteries

SOURCE: luminanews.com - DATE: 12th November 2014
DNA analysis from freshly laid Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta) eggs suggests long-held belief about nesting habits of the protected species might not be completely accurate.
Research scientists from the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources began analyzing data in 2008. Originally confined to turtles nesting on the Georgia coastline, the project extended to South Carolina and North Carolina in 2010.
The Wrightsville Beach Sea Turtle Project sent its first loggerhead egg sample in 2011, adding 14 samples to more than 33,000 collected to date. While the study is ongoing and no formal conclusions have been drawn from the data yet, Wrightsville Beach Sea Turtle Project coordinator Nancy Fahey said the data already suggests new ways of understanding turtle behaviour.
Data collected on Wrightsville Beach (North Carolina, the USA) suggests turtles remain within 60 kilometers (37 miles), to lay nests, compared to a statewide average of 69 kilometers and a project-wide average of 26 kilometers.
The study has found that turtles in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia lay on average 4.71 nests per season, one every eight or nine days. On Wrightsville Beach, the numbers are a little lower at 1.73 nests per female every eight or nine days.

Link to this web article online (English)

5. The USA: 'Nerds Without Borders' help solve North Carolina's thorny Turtle problem

SOURCE: engadget.com - DATE: 13th November 2014
Like any creature that loves beautiful landscapes and the Wolfpack, Sea Turtles like to hang out in North Carolina. Annually, there's six weeks of tourist season when NC's beaches aren't available to use, since no-one wants to see a baby turtle getting squashed by an ATV or kicked by a curious child.
Nerds Without Borders, an organization of, er, nerds, developed a probe that can be buried by the turtle nest. Equipped with a basic motion sensor and connected to a smartphone module, the probe then sends back the seismic information to HQ. This way, it's only when the hardware detects that the turtles are crawling towards the surface that the beaches are shut down. Not only is it now possible to keep the beaches open when they would have otherwise been closed, but it's also keeping the turtles safe and giving scientists a great chance to see the creatures in action. The team at Nerds Without Borders are now hoping to build a more professional-looking version of the hardware in the hope that the US Fish and Wildlife service will adopt it nationwide.

Link to this web article online (English)

 

 
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