Keywords

Migratory connectivity, loggerhead turtle, stable isotopes, carbon, nitrogen, carry over effects, isoscapes

Abstract

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.

Notes

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Graduation Date

2014

Semester

Spring

Advisor

Weishampel, John

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

College

College of Sciences

Department

Biology

Degree Program

Conservation Biology; Ecology and Organismal Biology Track

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0005470

URL

http://purl.fcla.edu/fcla/etd/CFE0005470

Language

English

Release Date

November 2014

Length of Campus-only Access

None

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

Subjects

Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences; Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic

Included in

Biology Commons

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