Marine Biology

, Volume 158, Issue 11, pp 2577–2587 | Cite as

Different growth rates between loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) of Mediterranean and Atlantic origin in the Mediterranean Sea

  • Susanna PiovanoEmail author
  • Marcel Clusa
  • Carlos Carreras
  • Cristina Giacoma
  • Marta Pascual
  • Luis Cardona
Original Paper


We estimated for the first time the growth rates of loggerhead sea turtles of Mediterranean and of Atlantic origin found in the Mediterranean Sea, combining both skeletochronological and genetic analyses. Our growth models suggested that the growth rate of loggerhead sea turtles of Mediterranean origin was faster than that of their conspecifics with an Atlantic origin exploiting the feeding grounds in the Mediterranean Sea. The age at maturity for Mediterranean origin loggerhead sea turtles, estimated using our best fitting model, was 24 years, which suggests that loggerhead sea turtles nesting in the Mediterranean are not only smaller than those nesting in the western North Atlantic but also younger.


Carapace Length Nest Beach Mediterranean Origin Atlantic Origin Curve Carapace Length 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



For providing samples, we thank the Tartanet network of rescue centres, in particular Marco Affronte (Fondazione Cetacea), Giovanni Furii (Sea Turtles Rescue Centre Legambiente Oasi di Lago Salso), Gepi Ollano (Cetacean and Sea Turtles Rescue Centre Laguna di Nora), Laura Pireddu (Sea Turtles Rescue Centre CTS Asinara) and Annalisa Liotta (Sea Turtles Rescue Centre CTS Brancaleone). We thank Olimpia Lai (Università di Bari) and Dino Scaravelli (Università di Bologna) for providing additional samples. We thank Giusy Nicolini (Riserva Naturale Orientata “Isola di Lampedusa”) and Paola Chesi (Sea Turtles Rescue Center CTS Brancaleone) for providing two dead-in-nest hatchlings each. We thank Fabio M. Guarino and George R. Zug for providing assistance in bone preparation and interpretation of growth layers. We are grateful to Riccardo Comoli (RC) for his assistance in LAGs counting. Valuable comments on earlier versions of this manuscript were provided by Melissa L. Snover. The petrographic cutter was made available by Mario Fornaro (Università di Torino, Dip. di Scienze della Terra), the freezing-stage microtome by Maria F. Franzoni (Università di Torino, Dip. di Biologia Animale). This research was partially financed by project CGL2009-10017 (Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, Spain).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susanna Piovano
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marcel Clusa
    • 2
  • Carlos Carreras
    • 2
  • Cristina Giacoma
    • 1
  • Marta Pascual
    • 3
  • Luis Cardona
    • 2
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Biologia Animale e dell’UomoUniversity of TorinoTurinItaly
  2. 2.Department of Animal Biology and IrBio, Faculty of BiologyUniversity of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Department of Genetics and IrBio, Faculty of BiologyUniversity of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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