Marine turtles produce many offspring which offsets the high mortality experienced by turtles during early development. Juvenile mortality might be reduced by evolving effective behavioral as well as morphological anti-predator defenses. Body proportions of three species (Caretta caretta, Chelonia mydas, Dermochelys coriacea) of turtles were measured in the first fourteen weeks of development to examine how growth may mitigate predation by gape-limited predators. Growth was categorized as isometric if shape did not change during development or allometric if body shape did change. All three species showed allometric growth in carapace width; however it was less pronounced in the larger D. coriacea turtles. Allometric growth in carapace width decreased as all three species grew in size. When high predation occurs in early development, many species will favor rapid growth into a size refuge. Juvenile sea turtles may optimize their survival by growing allometrically when predation risk is the greatest.
|Commitee:||Kajiura, Stephen, Wyneken, Jeanette|
|School:||Florida Atlantic University|
|School Location:||United States -- Florida|
|Source:||MAI 54/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Morphology, Developmental biology|
|Keywords:||Caretta caretta, Chelonia mydas, Dermochelys coriacea|
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