Marine Biology

, Volume 162, Issue 8, pp 1559–1566 | Cite as

Somatic growth of juvenile green turtle (Cheloniamydas) morphotypes in the Colombian Pacific

  • Laura SampsonEmail author
  • Alan Giraldo
  • Luis Fernando Payán
  • Diego F. Amorocho
  • Tomoharu Eguchi
  • Jeffrey A. Seminoff
Original Paper


Somatic growth rates of green turtles (Cheloniamydas) are affected by foraging success and influence their survival and reproduction. Gorgona National Park (GNP) in the Colombian Pacific (2°58′03″N, 78°10′49″W) is an insular foraging site that offers a unique opportunity to study the black (occurring only in the eastern Pacific) and yellow (with western Pacific nesting beach origins) morphotypes of green turtles during their juvenile phase. A total of 995 turtles were captured and marked between October 2003 and December 2012. Recapture rates were low (20 black morphotype and 13 yellow morphotype turtles) but suggested that at least some turtles remain in the area for extended periods (>5 years). Mean growth rate was slightly higher for black morphotype (mean 0.92 ± 0.24 cm y−1) than yellow morphotype turtles (mean 0.74 ± 0.26 cm y−1), and both morphotypes displayed a non-monotonic growth pattern. Black morphotype turtles grew faster at intermediate sizes, similar to black turtles at other locations in the eastern Pacific, whereas yellow morphotype turtles had slowest growth at intermediate sizes. Our data underscore the importance of GNP as a foraging habitat for C. mydas individuals from distinct nesting populations and indicate that these morphotypes have different growth patterns while residing at the same foraging site.


Green Turtle Nest Beach Initial Capture Somatic Growth Rate Straight 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.



From 2003 to 2007 surveys were financed by the Centro de Investigación para el Manejo Ambiental y el Desarrollo (CIMAD), with support from the Henry von Prahl scientific station of GNP (Programa de Monitoreo de VOC del PNN Gorgona). From 2008 to 2012 surveys were financed and conducted by the Henry von Prahl scientific station of GNP. This research is part of LS’s doctoral research, for which she received funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and a teaching assistantship from the Biology Department at the Universidad del Valle. We are grateful to Fernando Zapata for his assistance with statistical analyses. We thank all individuals involved in data collection.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Sampson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alan Giraldo
    • 1
  • Luis Fernando Payán
    • 2
  • Diego F. Amorocho
    • 3
  • Tomoharu Eguchi
    • 4
  • Jeffrey A. Seminoff
    • 4
  1. 1.Grupo de Investigación en Ecología AnimalUniversidad del ValleCaliColombia
  2. 2.Parques Nacionales Naturales de ColombiaCaliColombia
  3. 3.WWF Latino América y el CaribeCaliColombia
  4. 4.NMFS-Southwest Fisheries Science CenterLa JollaUSA

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