Science Inventory

Reproductive physiology in eastern snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina) exposed to runoff from a concentrated animal feeding operation

Citation:

Meyer, J., S. Rogers-Burch, J. Leet, Dan Villeneuve, G. Ankley, AND M. Sepulveda. Reproductive physiology in eastern snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina) exposed to runoff from a concentrated animal feeding operation. JOURNAL OF WILDLIFE DISEASES. Wildlife Disease Association, Lawrence, KS, 49(4):996-999, (2013).

Impact/Purpose:

The eastern snapping turtle is widely distributed throughout the eastern and central U.S. and may be a useful model organism to study land use impacts on water quality. We compared the reproductive condition of turtles from a pond impacted by runoff from land applied with animal manure from a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFOs) relative to the condition of animals from a control pond not impacted by agriculture in an undisturbed forest. Turtles from the CAFO site compared to the control site were significantly heavier and had higher plasma concentrations of vitellogenin (mean ± SE; VTG, females; 859±115 vs. 401±127 ng/mL plasma, respectively) and testosterone (T, males; 39±7.0 vs. 3.8±6.9 ng/mL plasma, respectively). No VTG was detected in any males. Body mass was positively corrrelated with VTG and T. Our results suggest that nutrient pollution of the CAFO pond indirectly resulted in higher plasma VTG in females and T in males because of an increase in body mass. The population-level consequences of these effects are not clear, but could result in females producing larger clutches.

Description:

The eastern snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) is widely distributed throughout the eastern and central U.S. and may be a useful model organism to study land use impacts on water quality. We compared the reproductive condition of C. serpentina from a pond impacted by runoff from land applied with animal manure from a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFOs) relative to the condition of animals from a control pond not impacted by agriculture in an undisturbed forest. Turtles from the CAFO site compared to the control site were significantly heavier and had higher plasma concentrations of vitellogenin (mean ± SE; VTG, females; 859±115 vs. 401±127 ng/mL plasma, respectively) and testosterone (T, males; 39±7.0 vs. 3.8±6.9 ng/mL plasma, respectively). No VTG was detected in any males. Body mass was positively corrrelated with VTG and T. Our results suggest that nutrient pollution of the CAFO pond indirectly resulted in higher plasma VTG in females and T in males because of an increase in body mass. The population-level consequences of these effects are not clear, but could result in females producing larger clutches.

URLs/Downloads:

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Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Product Published Date: 10/01/2013
Record Last Revised: 04/06/2015
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 262072

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LABORATORY

MID-CONTINENT ECOLOGY DIVISION