M.S. - Animal Sciences (Ecology, Evolution & Conservation Biology)

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    Effects of Green Turtle Fibropapillomatosis on the Reproductive Success and Egg Composition of Green Turtles (Chelonia Mydas) Nesting at French Frigate Shoals, Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2002-12) Pepi, Vanessa Elisabeth ; Atkinson, Shannon ; Animal Science (Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology)
    Nesting activity of Hawaiian green turtles was monitored during the 1999 season on Tern Island, French Frigate Shoals, Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Throughout the nesting season, 28 turtles without fibropapillomatosis (FP) and 15 turtles with FP were monitored to determine if reproductive success is affected by FP. Weight (kg) and morphometric measurements (cm) were not significantly different between turtles with and without FP. Although hatch success was not significantly different; clutch sizes of turtles with FP were significantly less (ex < 0.1) than turtles without FP. A subsample of 8 turtles without FP and 7 with FP were observed to determine the potential effects of FP on egg composition. Average egg weight (g) was greater (p<0.01) and the percent crude fat was greater (p<0.05) in turtles with FP than in turtles without FP. Percent moisture content, ash and protein were similar for turtles with and without FP. Percent carbohydrate, estimated by difference, and gross energy calculated based on nutrient composition were not significantly different for turtles with and without FP. Nesting turtles with FP did have low overall tumor scores, but appeared to have slightly impaired reproductive success. Turtles with FP may place more energy (e.g., greater egg weight & fat content) into individual eggs versus turtles without FP to compensate for the decreased clutch size.