Migratory connectivity, loggerhead turtle, stable isotopes, carbon, nitrogen, carry over effects, isoscapes
Migration is a widespread and complex phenomenon in nature that has fascinated humans for centuries. Connectivity among populations influences their demographics, genetic structure and response to environmental change. Here, I used the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta, L.) as a study organism to address questions related to migratory connectivity and carry-over effects using satellite telemetry, stable isotope analysis and GIS interpolation methods. Telemetry identified foraging areas previously overlooked for loggerheads nesting in Florida. Next, I validated and evaluated the efficacy of intrinsic markers as a complementary and low cost tool to assign loggerhead foraging regions in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean (NWA), using both a spatially implicit and spatially explicit (isoscapes) approach. I then focused on the nesting beaches and developed a common currency for isotopic studies based on unhatched eggs, which provide a non-invasive and non-destructive method for more extensive sampling to elucidate isotopic patterns across broader spatiotemporal scales. Lastly, I found that intra-population variations in foraging strategies affect annual and long-term reproductive output of loggerheads nesting in Florida. Understanding geospatial linkages is critical to the fostering of appropriate management and conservation strategies for migratory species. My multi-faceted approach contributes to the growing body of literature exploring migratory connectivity and carry-over effects.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Conservation Biology; Ecology and Organismal Biology Track
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences; Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Ceriani, Simona, "Migratory connectivity and carry-over effects in Northwest Atlantic loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta, L.)" (2014). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4762.