First skeletochronology analysis on yearlings of loggerhead seaturtles (Caretta caretta)

Knowing the age of individuals is a population is vital to select appropriate conservation strategies, especially on endangered species as sea turtle. Age estimation had been asses throughout different methods such as carapace length or skeletochronology analysis. This study was focused on skeletochronology analysis of known-age loggerhead yearlings reared in captivity. Previous skeletochronology analysis studies have determined that sea turtle age can be estimated due to skeletal growth marks (GM) produced by annual environmental seasonality. A dark thin line, called line of arrested growth (LAG) is deposited during low growth rates (cold season) and a light broad line reflects an active bone formation during high growth rates (warm season). In our study we saw that some turtles subjected to strong seawater temperature seasonality and constant food supply did not present any GM and other turtles, with growth problems did it. In conclusion the study suggested that sea turtle age cannot be determined by skeletochronology analysis.

Promotor(s) & Supervisor: Liria Loza, Monzón-Argüello

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0511 - Biology