Monash University
SeanWilliamsonThesisFinal_L314.pdf (6.58 MB)
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Control and ecological significance of embryonic development in turtles and crocodiles

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posted on 2018-01-11, 23:23 authored by SEAN ALEXANDER WILLIAMSON
Turtle embryos pause development within the mother’s oviduct, allowing the mother to delay nesting. I investigated how this process is controlled. I found that embryos take 12 hours to start developing again once laid. I also showed that you can keep embryos paused by maintaining them in low-oxygen environments after laying, allowing safe transportation of eggs for research and conservation purposes. I showed that this physiological phenomenon may also be important for the nesting strategy and reproductive success of olive ridley and leatherback sea turtles. Finally, I found that, unlike turtles, crocodilian embryos do not pause development in low-oxygen.


Campus location


Principal supervisor

Richard David Reina

Additional supervisor 1

Roger Evans

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Biological Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type



Faculty of Science