Michalski, F., Norris, D., Quintana, I., Valerio, A., & Gibbs, J. P. (2020). Substrate influences human removal of freshwater turtle nests in the eastern Brazilian Amazon. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 1–11.
Substrate type determines nesting success and fitness in turtles and is a critical consideration for nesting area protection and restoration. Here, we evaluated the effect of substrate on nest removal by humans in the eastern Brazilian Amazon. We analyzed substrate composition and fate of 216 P. unifilis nests along 88 km of rivers. River segment and substrate type were the most important predictors of nest removal by humans. We found up to 36% lower removal of nests in fine sand and experimental results support the hypothesis that wind more often obscures tracks of nesting females in substrates with more (>66%) fine sand. Our findings are useful for informing the restoration of artificial nesting areas across the Amazon, as nesting area substrates should be selected not only to maintain hatchling sex ratios, but also to minimize nest removal by humans.