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The life history strategy of a northern population of Midland painted turtle, Chrysemys picta marginata

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Title: The life history strategy of a northern population of Midland painted turtle, Chrysemys picta marginata
Author: Samson, Jason
Department: Department of Zoology
Advisor: Brooks, R.J.
Abstract: A 20-year study of Midland Painted Turtles in Algonquin Park, Ontario, was analyzed to determine patterns of growth, maturity, survivorship, and fecundity. Variation in asymptotic body size invalidate the value of growth equations over much of the painted turtle lifespan. Age at maturity was 50% higher than reported in other studies of this species. Annual survival rates were exceptionally high for adults (~0.98), whilst they were very low and unpredictable for eggs at 0.022 (sd = 0.018). Over 13 years, 68% of about 200 females nested once and 13% nested twice in an average year. Clutch size was not related to egg size or clutch frequency. Fecundity increased with body size by an increase in both clutch size and clutch frequency. Turtle life-history strategy is strongly dependent on an extended reproductive lifespan, strongly suggesting that turtle populations will cope poorly with even small increases in adult mortality engendered by anthropogenic sources.
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10214/24990
Date: 2003
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