Meeting Abstract

P2.108  Thursday, Jan. 5  Intake and growth rates modulate bone structure in juvenile green turtles (Chelonia mydas) ROARK, AM*; BAST, RL; S├íNCHEZ, J; BOLTEN, AB; BJORNDAL, KA; Hood College, Frederick, MD; Hood College, Frederick, MD; Hood College, Frederick, MD; Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL; Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL roark@hood.edu

The availability of resources early in life regulates rates of growth and development. It may also entrain subsequent performance through effects on morphology, physiology, and/or life history. The purpose of this study was to determine whether resource availability during early development affects bone structure in green turtles (Chelonia mydas). Juvenile turtles were fed on one of three treatment schedules over a period of twelve weeks: continuous ad libitum feeding (AL), continuous food restriction (R), or food restriction for five weeks followed by a switch to ad libitum feeding (R-AL). We previously reported that R-AL turtles demonstrated rapid growth upon a return to ad libitum feeding but allocated proportionally less mass growth to mineral gains than turtles that did not experience a diet switch. We predicted that this effect would manifest as differences in bone morphology and/or extent of mineralization. In this study, bone structure of AL, R, and R-AL turtles was evaluated using measurements of external bone morphology, microcomputed tomography (microCT), and histology of excised humeri. Our results suggest that intake and growth rates affect bone structure, even when corrected for body size. This finding suggests that food availability early in life modulates bone structure in juvenile green turtles, thereby potentially affecting performance later in life.