Meeting Abstract

66-1  Friday, Jan. 5 13:30 - 13:45  Potential for marine turtle promiscuity to counteract extreme environmental effects LASALA, JA*; HUGHES, C; WYNEKEN, J; LASALA, Jacob; Florida Atlantic University ; Florida Atlantic University ; Florida Atlantic University jlasala1@fau.edu

Species that display temperature dependent sex determination are at risk due to increasing global temperatures. Marine turtles are especially at risk due to the high feminization of the offspring due to these increases that may skew the adult sex ratios. As marine turtle individuals are widely distributed and males remain in the ocean, a functional alternative is sought: breeding sex ratios (BSR). One way to examine BSR is to determine the number of males that contribute to nests. Previously, we examined the BSR for loggerhead turtles nesting in the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. Our research suggests that there are many males contributing to these nests. We hypothesize that this high quantity of males might be counteracting the effects of skewed sex ratio. However, the previous research focused on individual turtles and our estimate of BSR could not account for multiple mating events. We aim to correct this by examining nests laid by turtles that returned to nest multiple times in 2016. We sampled 16 repeating females and a subset of their subsequent nests (625 hatchlings). We found that in the majority of nests females did not mate again in between clutches, suggesting that in this region our estimate of the BSR was accurate. It also confirms long standing theory that females mate at the beginning of the breeding season and then do not mate throughout the nesting season. It is imperative to establish how mating affects the population structure of these populations, so we can identify how they might behave before extreme environmental effects are evident.