Winter diets of immature green turtles (Chelonia mydas) on a northern feeding ground: integrating stomach contents and stable isotope analyses

Estuaries and Coasts
By: , and 

Links

Abstract

The foraging ecology and diet of the green turtle, Chelonia mydas, remain understudied, particularly in peripheral areas of its distribution. We assessed the diet of an aggregation of juvenile green turtles at the northern edge of its range during winter months using two approaches. Stomach content analyses provide a single time sample, and stable isotope analyses integrate diet over a several-month period. We evaluated diet consistency in prey choice over time by comparing the results of these two approaches. We examined stomach contents from 43 juvenile green turtles that died during cold stunning events in St. Joseph Bay, Florida, in 2008 and 2011. Stomach contents were evaluated for volume, dry mass, percent frequency of occurrence, and index of relative importance of individual diet items. Juvenile green turtles were omnivorous, feeding primarily on seagrasses and tunicates. Diet characterizations from stomach contents differed from those based on stable isotope analyses, indicating the turtles are not feeding consistently during winter months. Evaluation of diets during warm months is needed.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Winter diets of immature green turtles (Chelonia mydas) on a northern feeding ground: integrating stomach contents and stable isotope analyses
Series title Estuaries and Coasts
DOI 10.1007/s12237-013-9741-x
Volume 37
Issue 4
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Atlanta
Description 9 p.
First page 986
Last page 994
Country United States
State Florida
Other Geospatial St. Joseph Bay
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N