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Title: Characterization of size-at-age and somatic growth patterns for Kemps ridleys in the Gulf of Mexico using skeletochronology
Short Name: Sea Turtle SAIP Progress Report
Status: Completed

With appropriate validation and calibration, the technique of skeletochronology, or analysis of skeletal growth marks (GMs), has the potential to provide age data (Castanet et al. 1993), as well as growth rates comparable to those yielded by traditional mark-recapture methods (Campana 1990, Casale et al. 2011). For the Cheloniid sea turtles, skeletochronological analysis has typically focused on the humerus bone located in the upper portion of each front flipper, as early assessments indicated that this bone exhibits the least amount of resorption, or destruction of early GMs throughout life (Zug 1986). In the Atlantic, annual GM deposition in Kemp?s ridley humeri has been validated using several methods (Snover 2002; Snover and Hohn 2004) and a proportional relationship between humerus and somatic growth has been demonstrated (Snover 2002), allowing validated back-calculation of straightline carapace lengths (SCLs) from GM diameters. Together, these findings provided a foundation for estimation of growth rates, juvenile stage durations, and mean age at maturation for Kemps ridleys stranded in the mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. east coast during the mid- to late 1990s (Snover et al. 2007a). Previous, un-validated skeletochronological analysis has been conducted using humeri of Kemp?s ridleys in the Gulf of Mexico that predominantly stranded during the late 1970s and early 1980s (Zuget al. 1997). However, to address validation and collect longer-term age and growth data, additional skeletochronological analysis for Kemp's ridleys in the Gulf of Mexico is still needed.


Each humerus was flensed of tissue, boiled, dried, and histologically processed (decalcified, microtomed, stained, mounted on a microscope slide) according to the methods of Avens et al. (2012). Sequential, partial, digital images of histologically processed humerus sections were taken at 4? magnification and partial images were then pieced together using Adobe Photoshop to form complete, calibrated, digital images of entire humerus sections that could be used for GM counts and measurements. Two readers conducted independent assessments followed by joint assessments to reach consensus regarding the number and placement of the lines of arrested growth or LAGs that demarcate the outer edges of GMs for all 340 humeri. In addition, digital diameter measurements of all LAGs in each humerus section image have been completed for all 340 humeri.


Theme Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
None age studies
None biological data
None growth rate
None HSD
None humeri
None humerus section diameter
None Kemp's Ridley
None Kemps Ridley
None LAG
None lines of arrested growth
None maturation studies
None population dynamics
None protected species
None SAIP Funds
None skeletochronology
None turtle

Temporal Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
None 1989-2010

Spatial Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
None alabama
None florida gulf coast
None Gulf Of Mexico
None louisiana
None mississippi
None texas

Stratum Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
None age
None size

Physical Location

Organization: Southeast Fisheries Science Center
City: Miami
State/Province: FL
Country: USA
Location Description:


Project Information

Project Type: Project

Support Roles

Data Steward

CC ID: 104446
Date Effective From: 2010-12-02
Date Effective To:
Contact (Person): Sasso, Chris
Address: 75 Va Beach DR
Miami, FL 33149
Email Address:
Phone: 305-361-4279
Fax: 305-361-4478


Extent Group 1

Extent Group 1 / Geographic Area 1

CC ID: 104357

Gulf Coast Of The United States

Access Information

Security Class: Sensitive
Data Access Policy:

Data Available to evveryone

Data Access Procedure:

Download from provided link

Data Access Constraints:


Data Use Constraints:

Please Reference appropriately in academic literature

Metadata Access Constraints:


Metadata Use Constraints:



GM Growth Markers
HSD humerus section diameter
LAG lines of arrested growth

Child Items

Rubric scores updated every 15m

Rubric Score Type Title
Data Set Gulf of Mexico Kemps ridley sea turtle age and growth NCEI Accession 0160329

Catalog Details

Catalog Item ID: 18754
GUID: gov.noaa.nmfs.inport:18754
Metadata Record Created By: Lee M Weinberger
Metadata Record Created: 2013-04-26 05:05+0000
Metadata Record Last Modified By: SysAdmin InPortAdmin
Metadata Record Last Modified: 2022-08-09 17:11+0000
Metadata Record Published: 2021-04-29
Owner Org: SEFSC
Metadata Publication Status: Published Externally
Do Not Publish?: N
Metadata Last Review Date: 2021-04-29
Metadata Review Frequency: 1 Year
Metadata Next Review Date: 2022-04-29