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Title: Regional comparison of leatherback sea turtle maturation attributes and reproductive longevity
Publication Date: 2019-12-03

Data characterizing somatic growth patterns and the ages and sizes at which organisms mature are fundamental to understanding population dynamics. However, obtaining this information for endangered leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) is particularly challenging due to unusual physiology and prevalence of remote oceanic habitat use, which limit direct observation. While inference has been made through indirect approaches such as captive, genetic, and/or skeletal growth mark (skeletochronology) studies, these diverse methods have yielded similarly varied results, limiting usefulness of available information for management and conservation. To address this data gap, we conducted refined skeletochronological analysis of Atlantic and Pacific leatherback scleral ossicle bones, allowing estimation of carapace length-at-age relationships throughout individual turtles lives, including the juvenile life stage. In addition, this improved approach made it possible to estimate mean and range for age and size at sexual maturation (ASM and SSM, respectively), as well as post-maturation longevity. Updated mean ASM estimates from the current study of 17-19 years were lower than those previously proposed using skeletochronology and more similar to predictions from captive growth and genetic data. Maximum estimates of reproductive longevity (18-22 years) were consistent with the 16-19 years reported previously from mark-recapture of nesting females. Together, these results indicate that the application of the refined analytical approach described in the current study may offer opportunities to increase understanding of leatherback age and growth

Other Citation Details:

Avens, L., Goshe, L.R., Zug, G.R. et al. Regional comparison of leatherback sea turtle maturation attributes and reproductive longevity. Mar Biol 167, 4 (2020).

DOI (Digital Object Identifier): 10.1007/s00227-019-3617-y
DOI Registration Authority: Springer
DOI Issue Date: 2019-12-03

Document Information

Document Type: Journal article
Format: Acrobat Portable Document Format
Status Code: Published

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CC ID: 1179840
Date Effective From: 2019
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Contact (Person): Avens, Larisa
Address: 101 Pivers Island Rd.
Beaufort, NC
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Phone: (252)728-8747
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CC ID: 1179846
Date Effective From: 2019
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Contact (Person): Harris, Heather
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CC ID: 1179843
Date Effective From: 2019
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Contact (Person): Balazs, George H
Address: 992 Awaawaanoa Place
Honolulu, HI 96825
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CC ID: 1179841
Date Effective From: 2019
Date Effective To:
Contact (Person): Benson, Scott R
Address: 7544 Sandholdt Road
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Phone: (831) 771-4154
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CC ID: 1179842
Date Effective From: 2019
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Contact (Person): Goshe, Lisa
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CC ID: 1179839
Start Date: 2019
End Date: Present
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Catalog Details

Catalog Item ID: 67630
GUID: gov.noaa.nmfs.inport:67630
Metadata Record Created By: Lee M Weinberger
Metadata Record Created: 2022-08-07 17:08+0000
Metadata Record Last Modified By: Lee M Weinberger
Metadata Record Last Modified: 2022-08-10 12:47+0000
Metadata Record Published: 2022-08-10
Owner Org: SEFSC
Metadata Publication Status: Published Externally
Do Not Publish?: N
Metadata Last Review Date: 2022-08-10
Metadata Review Frequency: 1 Year
Metadata Next Review Date: 2023-08-10