Friday, February 17, 2017
Exhibit Hall (Hynes Convention Center)
Emily Skinner, Zoo Academy, Papillion, NE
The purpose of this research was to determine if exposure to UVB light had an effect on the blood vitamin D3 levels in green sea turtles, with the hypothesis being that UV exposure would increase the blood vitamin D3 levels. Vitamin D3 is needed to help with the absorption of calcium from the intestines and is created by UV exposure in other reptiles. Without vitamin D3, many skeletal problems can occur. For this research, two sea turtles were used, one female and one male. The female was the experimental animal and the male was the control animal. A blood draw was taken at the start of the experiment to determine base vitamin D3 levels. Then the female sea turtle was fed under a UV lamp for 15-20 minutes each day for six weeks. Another blood draw was done and a delay of three weeks passed between trials due to a broken lightbulb. After the three weeks, another blood draw was taken and the experiment repeated for another six weeks. The results of the blood draw after the first six weeks showed that the female sea turtle’s vitamin D3 levels increased and the male’s stayed constant. In the three week period without the light, both the male and female levels decreased. During the final six-week period, the female’s levels increased and the male’s levels increased slightly. The change in the female’s levels with addition and subtraction of the UV light strongly support the hypothesis.