Meeting Abstract

P3.120  Friday, Jan. 6  Maternal and paternal contributions to growth in hatchling turtles TUBERVILLE, T.D.; University of Georgia's Savannah River Ecology Lab

Hatching size and subsequent growth rates can have important implications for offspring fitness, including survival to reproductive maturity and size and age at maturity. In turtles, maternal effects on both hatching size and growth rates have been documented. However, significant variation in these traits is frequently observed among individuals from a single clutch, suggesting that paternal identity can also influence fitness-related traits in offspring. This study examined the maternal and paternal effects on size and growth rates of hatchling gopher tortoises Gopherus polyphemus, a species in which females can store sperm between breeding events and produce multiply-sired clutches. We collected a total of 15 clutches from two translocated populations in which all potential breeders had been catalogued and genotyped at five highly polymorphic microsatellite markers. The resulting 64 offspring were reared under standardized captive conditions for 8 months, genotyped, and measured at hatching and just prior to release. After assigning parentage to each offspring, we tested for maternal, paternal and family effects on offspring size at hatching, first year growth rates, and size at release. We will place our findings in the context of similar work with other taxonomic groups.