Tracking turtle nesting grounds

28 September, 2022

Newly discovered turtle nesting sites in the Saudi Arabian Red Sea could help coastal megaprojects minimize their impact on these endangered species.

For a sea turtle hatchling, its chance of survival is often decided long before its first sprint to the sea. Nesting females require beaches that offer the best possible incubation conditions for their eggs, from sand color and moisture content to slope angle. “Steeper beaches are better because elevated nests are less likely to be flooded when the tide comes in,” says KAUST Ph.D. student Kirsty Scott. Human activities that disrupt any of these features could severely reduce the survival rates of this endangered species.

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Image: A team of KAUST researchers has carried out a comprehensive survey of turtle nesting sites along the central Saudi Arabian Red Sea coast.
© 2022 KAUST; Morgan Bennett Smith.