Estimates of age and growth in a population of green sea turtles (Cheloniamydas) from the Indian River lagoon system, Florida: a skeletochronological analysis

Authors
Citation
Gr. Zug et Re. Glor, Estimates of age and growth in a population of green sea turtles (Cheloniamydas) from the Indian River lagoon system, Florida: a skeletochronological analysis, CAN J ZOOL, 76(8), 1998, pp. 1497-1506
Citations number
61
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Animal Sciences
Journal title
CANADIAN JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY-REVUE CANADIENNE DE ZOOLOGIE
ISSN journal
0008-4301 → ACNP
Volume
76
Issue
8
Year of publication
1998
Pages
1497 - 1506
Database
ISI
SICI code
0008-4301(199808)76:8<1497:EOAAGI>2.0.ZU;2-V
Abstract
The Indian River lagoon system harbors a dynamic population of juvenile gre en sea turtles (Chelonia mydas). This foraging or developmental population occupies the lagoon year-round and periodically experiences cold-stunning e vents that kill a portion of the population. A sample of 59 C. mydas (28-74 cm straight carapace length) from the December 1989 cold-stunning event wa s aged by skeletochronology, yielding age estimates of 3-14 years. Mean gro wth-rate estimates range from 30 to 52 mm/year for most age and size classe s, with means for the 6- to 11-year age classes (44-49 mm/year) not signifi cantly different but greater than those of the youngest and oldest classes (3-5 and 12 years old, respectively) (32-38 mm/year). Because of the lack o f adults and near-adults in the sample, growth models (e.g., Gompertz) do n ot yield biologically realistic asymptotes, hence they do not provide accur ate estimates of age at sexual maturity. The age estimates suggest that the western Atlantic C. mydas change from a pelagic to a neritic life predomin antly as 5- to 6-year-olds and, in central Florida, juveniles may live in a developmental habitat for 6 or more years.