|SREL Reprint #0384|
Enhanced Growth and Increase Body Size of Turtles Living in Thermal and Post-Thermal Aquatic Systems
Jennifer Christy, James O. Farlow, Joseph E. Bourque, and J. Whitfield Gibbons
Population size structure and individual growth
rates of the yellow-bellied turtle (Pseudemys scripta) were
examined from four distinct types of habitat:
(1) areas that receive no thermal loading and therefore have normal water
temperatures; (2) aquatic areas receiving heated effluents; (3) post-thermal
recovery habitats that once received intense thermal loading but no longer do
so; and (4) a chemically polluted pond. Both the nutrient balance and the community structure have
been drastically altered from the natural state in these thermally and
chemically altered environments. Adult
turtles from the thermal and post-thermal areas attained significantly larger
body sizes than those from natural habitats.
In addition, individual turtles from the thermally and chemically
influenced habitats grew faster than those in the natural areas.
Changes in growth rates and body sizes resulted from direct and/or
indirect thermal and chemical alterations; post-thermal environments continued
to reflect such changes for as much as 9 years after the last thermal input.
SREL Reprint #0384
Christy, E.J., J.O. Farlow, J.E. Bourque, and J.W.
Gibbons. 1974. Enhanced growth and increased body size of
turtles living in thermal and post thermal aquatic systems. p. 277-284. In Thermal Ecology, edited by
J.W. Gibbons and R.R. Sharitz. CONF 730505. Atomic Energy Commission.