Major Advisor: Dr. Heather Judkins
Committee Member: Dr. Ari Fustukjian
Committee Member: Dr. Alison Gainsbury
University of South Florida St. Petersburg
October 29, 2019
Sea turtles are a crucial component of many coastline habitats due to their roles as ecosystem engineers and their ability to raise awareness for conservation efforts. Despite the extensive amount of research conducted on nesting behaviors of wild sea turtles, there are few behavioral studies of turtles in managed care. Sea turtles were observed at The Florida Aquarium from February 2018 to May 2019 to examine possible variations among behavior for five Loggerhead (Caretta caretta), Green (Chelonia mydas), and Kemp’s Ridley turtles (Lepidochelys kempii). The first part of this study includes a baseline time budget for the five turtles using the baseline ethogram developed for this research. The second half of this study addresses five hypotheses that compare turtle behavior based on time of day, time of year, species and enclosure size. A Mann-Whitney U test was used to determine the significance of the results. Results show that there is no significant difference in sea turtle behavior based on these factors. Through the knowledge gained in this study, facilities caring for sea turtles will be able to determine health condition and animal welfare with the use of behavioral analyses.
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Lowry, Kate Rae, "A Comparative Behavioral Analysis of Time Budgets of Sea Turtles at The Florida Aquarium through the Application of an Ethogram" (2019). USF St. Petersburg campus Master's Theses (Graduate).