Dietary preferences of juvenile green turtles (Chelonia mydas) on a tropical reef flat

Fuentes, Mariana M.P.B., Lawler, Ivan R., and Gyuris, Emma (2006) Dietary preferences of juvenile green turtles (Chelonia mydas) on a tropical reef flat. Wildlife Research, 33. pp. 671-678.

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Abstract

We offer the first published description of the feeding choices made by juvenile green turtles on a tropical feeding ground, in this case a reef flat environment. We collected 85 lavage samples from 76 turtles and compared the food eaten to the food resources available. Resampling of some individuals enabled us to gain preliminary insights into diet switching by juvenile turtles. The area of the reef flat at Green Island, Queensland, Australia, had similar proportions of coverage by seagrasses (52%) and by algae (48%). Seven species of seagrass and at least 26 species of algae were identified. The dominant seagrasses, on an area basis, were Cymodocea sp. (29.7%), Halodule sp. (11.1%), Thalassia sp. (6.4%) and Syringodium sp. (4.5%). The most dominant algae were Halimeda spp. (10.2%). and Galaxaura sp. (7.25%). Most juvenile green turtles ate primarily seagrass, but some individuals ate predominantly algae. The turtles showed clear preferences for the seagrass Thalassia hemprichii and the algae Gracilaria spp., Gelidiella sp., Hypnea spp. despite their low abundance in many cases. Ways to improve our understanding of preferences and possible diet switching, and potential factors affecting them, are discussed.

Item ID: 3813
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: green turtle; seagrass; reef flat
ISSN: 1448-5494
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2009 05:03
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 70%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9613 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas > 961303 Protected Conservation Areas in Marine Environments @ 30%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 7
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