Award Date

Spring 2000

Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Science

Advisor 1

Dr. Shawn Gerstenberger, Departmental Advisor

Advisor 2

Dr. Darren D. Divine, Thesis Advisor

Number of Pages



Sea turtles appeared more than 200 million years ago in the late Triassic period. They grow very slowly, taking an average of 25 years to reach sexual maturity, with a life span averaging 40-50 years. From May to October green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) emerge during the night and follow light cues toward the sea. Recently, beachfront development has increased hatchling mortality rate. When hatchlings emerge from nest, high densities of artificial lights lead them toward the land where they either desiccate and die, or are preyed upon. Short-wavelength high intensity light and the distance of artificial light are the two most important lighting issues. But natural predators such as mammals, birds and big crabs also prey on the hatchlings. In addition, beach vehicles and human footprints are additional human impacts on hatchlings. Reducing the short-wavelengths lights behind urban nesting beaches, extending the distance of buildings behind beaches, and turning off lights in the early evening during the nesting seasons are all recommendations to potentially reduce hatchling mortality rates. Involving environmentally educated volunteers to transplant the clutches from high predator density to lower predator density areas has also been suggested.


Green turtle; Reproduction; Light pollution; Beaches; Nests; Environmental degradation


Animal Sciences | Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Sciences | Natural Resources and Conservation

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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