Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

First Advisor's Name

James Fourqurean

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Michael Heithaus

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

WIlliam Anderson

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Keywords

food web, grazing, herbivory, isotope mixing models, recapture, resource availability, seagrass, stable isotopes

Date of Defense

3-27-2017

Abstract

Green sea turtles in Bermuda are overgrazing the seagrasses on which later life stages are thought to specialize. I hypothesized that larger green turtles in Bermuda would display individual diet specializations during seagrass scarcity. Stable isotope methods were used to determine the diet composition of green sea turtles from the Bermuda Platform as a function of size class and in turtles captured in successive years. Individual turtles had a wide range of diets, however, the variation in diets was driven by differences among size class rather than within the size classes of larger turtles, indicating that green turtles undergo a dietary ontogenetic shift during their residency on the Bermuda Platform and no clear specialization of diets among late-stage individuals. The apparent lack of dietary specialization of larger turtles indicates that older turtles are not diversifying their diets in response to the drastic reductions in seagrass in Bermuda.

Identifier

FIDC001794

ORCID

orcid.org/0000-0002-5188-3531

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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