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

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, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 227-235, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2011.01915.x.

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Title Life in the really slow lane : loggerhead sea turtles mature late relative to other reptiles
Author(s) Scott, Rebecca
Marsh, Robert
Hays, Graeme C.ORCID iD for Hays, Graeme C.
Journal name Functional ecology
Volume number 26
Issue number 1
Start page 227
End page 235
Total pages 9
Publisher Wiley
Place of publication London, England
Publication date 2012-02
ISSN 0269-8463
Keyword(s) growth curve
gulf stream
Kuroshio current
larval dispersal
life history
population dynamics
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.
Language eng
DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2011.01915.x
Field of Research 069999 Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2012, Wiley
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