Hundreds of thousands of olive ridley sea turtles all arrive together to lay their eggs near Ostional, Costa Rica—and we know little about how they coordinate that feat. Vanessa Bezy, a National Geographic young explorer grantee, is trying to find out more. To test the hypothesis that pheromones trigger the nesting behavior, she’s giving a number of turtles that are swimming toward the nesting site a zinc sulfate solution that will temporarily block their sense of smell, which will let her see whether they’re less likely to come ashore. The solution, which wears off within five days, doesn’t harm the turtles. The study, approved by the Costa Rican government and the University of North Carolina’s biology department, should provide invaluable information to conservation groups hoping to protect these animals.
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PRODUCER, CINEMATOGRAPHER, AND EDITOR: Jean-Peal Polo
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER: Josean Rivera and Isabel Perez-Loehmann
PRODUCTION ASSISTANT: Valerie Yunker
PRODUCED UNDER PERMIT # ACT-OR-DR-048-15
SPECIAL THANKS: Vanessa Bezy and Roger Brothers
Over 100,000 Sea Turtles Nest at the Same Time. How? | National Geographic