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Life in the really slow lane: loggerhead sea turtles mature late relative to other reptiles

Life in the really slow lane: loggerhead sea turtles mature late relative to other reptiles
Life in the really slow lane: loggerhead sea turtles mature late relative to other reptiles
Summary
1.?Age at maturity is hard to estimate for species that cannot be directly marked or observed throughout their lives and yet is a key demographic parameter that is needed to assess the conservation status of endangered species.

2.?For loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) in the North Atlantic and North Pacific, juvenile growth rates (c. 10 cm year?1) were calculated by examining size increases during transoceanic journeys; durations of which were estimated from satellite-tracked Lagrangian surface drifter buoy trajectories.

3.?Lagrangian-derived growth estimates were used in a weighted loglinear model of size-specific growth rates for loggerhead turtles and combined with newly available information on size at maturity to estimate an age at maturity of 45 years (older than past estimates).

4.?By examining the age at maturity for 79 reptile species, we show that loggerhead turtles, along with other large-bodied Testudine (turtle and tortoise) species, take longer to reach maturity than other reptile species of comparable sizes. This finding heightens concern over the future sustainability of turtle populations. By maturing at an old age, sea turtles will be less resilient to anthropogenic mortality than previously suspected.
growth curve, Gulf Stream, k-selection, Kuroshio current, larval dispersal, life history, lizard, population dynamics
0269-8463
227-235
Scott, Rebecca
8eec1f68-f6c5-4d2a-9dae-aee7c4e0c87a
Marsh, Robert
702c2e7e-ac19-4019-abd9-a8614ab27717
Hays, Graeme C.
b9ce7bc1-c701-4c1b-95bd-7452ed75f4ba
Scott, Rebecca
8eec1f68-f6c5-4d2a-9dae-aee7c4e0c87a
Marsh, Robert
702c2e7e-ac19-4019-abd9-a8614ab27717
Hays, Graeme C.
b9ce7bc1-c701-4c1b-95bd-7452ed75f4ba

Scott, Rebecca, Marsh, Robert and Hays, Graeme C. (2012) Life in the really slow lane: loggerhead sea turtles mature late relative to other reptiles. Functional Ecology, 26 (1), 227-235. (doi:10.1111/j.1365-2435.2011.01915.x).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Summary
1.?Age at maturity is hard to estimate for species that cannot be directly marked or observed throughout their lives and yet is a key demographic parameter that is needed to assess the conservation status of endangered species.

2.?For loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) in the North Atlantic and North Pacific, juvenile growth rates (c. 10 cm year?1) were calculated by examining size increases during transoceanic journeys; durations of which were estimated from satellite-tracked Lagrangian surface drifter buoy trajectories.

3.?Lagrangian-derived growth estimates were used in a weighted loglinear model of size-specific growth rates for loggerhead turtles and combined with newly available information on size at maturity to estimate an age at maturity of 45 years (older than past estimates).

4.?By examining the age at maturity for 79 reptile species, we show that loggerhead turtles, along with other large-bodied Testudine (turtle and tortoise) species, take longer to reach maturity than other reptile species of comparable sizes. This finding heightens concern over the future sustainability of turtle populations. By maturing at an old age, sea turtles will be less resilient to anthropogenic mortality than previously suspected.

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More information

Published date: February 2012
Keywords: growth curve, Gulf Stream, k-selection, Kuroshio current, larval dispersal, life history, lizard, population dynamics
Organisations: Physical Oceanography

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 300740
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/300740
ISSN: 0269-8463
PURE UUID: c39288ae-0c9c-44fe-9dcd-be3c2bdfeb4f

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 24 Feb 2012 10:55
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 06:14

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Contributors

Author: Rebecca Scott
Author: Robert Marsh
Author: Graeme C. Hays

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