|SREL Reprint #0678|
of Food Availability and Water Temperature on the Feeding Ecology of
Enhanced growth rates and body sizes in populations
of aquatic turtles (Chrysemys scripta) from thermally impacted
habitats are attributed to differences in diet quality and elevated water
temperatures. A dietary analysis,
utilizing a stomach flushing technique, showed that turtles from a nuclear
reactor cooling reservoir ingest more than twice as much protein as turtles from
natural aquatic habitats. The major
component of the high-protein diet is fish carrion, which is more abundant in
the cooling reservoir than in the other habitats.
Both field and laboratory feeding electivity indices show turtles select
fish meat over most other food items. Other
dietary components include insects, snails, algae, seeds and aquatic vegetation.
Elevated water temperatures influence the feeding
ecology of turtles by increasing ingestion rates. Previous studies on other digestion processes (assimilation
efficiencies, enzyme and gastric acid activity, hormone levels and motility
rates) are incorporated into a feeding strategy model for optimizing growth.
Elevated water temperatures in the cooling reservoir may also permit an
extension of the turtle’s growing season.
SREL Reprint #0678
Parmenter, R.R. 1980. Effects of food availability and
water temperature on the feeding ecology of pond sliders (Chrysemys s. scripta). Copeia 1980:503-514