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Demographic response of snake-necked turtles correlates with indigenous harvest and feral pig predation in tropical northern Australia

Fordham, Damien A., Georges, Arthur and Brook, Barry W. (2007). Demographic response of snake-necked turtles correlates with indigenous harvest and feral pig predation in tropical northern Australia. Journal of Animal Ecology,76(6):1231-1243.

Document type: Journal Article
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Title Demographic response of snake-necked turtles correlates with indigenous harvest and feral pig predation in tropical northern Australia
Author Fordham, Damien A.
Georges, Arthur
Brook, Barry W.
Journal Name Journal of Animal Ecology
Publication Date 2007
Volume Number 76
Issue Number 6
ISSN 0021-8790   (check CDU catalogue  open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-35148850978
Start Page 1231
End Page 1243
Total Pages 13
Place of Publication Oxford, England
Publisher Blackwell Publishing
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract 1. Species that mature late, experience high levels of survival and have long generation times are more vulnerable to chronic increases in mortality than species with higher fecundity and more rapid turnover of generations. 2. Many chelonians have low hatchling survival, slow growth, delayed sexual maturity and high subadult and adult survival. This constrains their ability to respond quickly to increases in adult mortality from harvesting or habitat alteration. In contrast, the northern snake-necked turtle Chelodina rugosa (Ogilby 1890) is fast-growing, early maturing and highly fecund relative to other turtles, and may be resilient to increased mortality. 3. Here we provide correlative evidence spanning six study sites and three field seasons, indicating that C. rugosa is able to compensate demographically to conditions of relatively low subadult and adult survival, caused by pig Sus scrofa (Linnaeus 1758) predation and customary harvesting by humans. 4. Recruitment and age specific fecundity tended to be greater in sites with low adult and subadult survival (and thus reduced densities of large turtles), owing to higher juvenile survival, a smaller size at onset of maturity and faster post-maturity growth. 5. These patterns are consistent with compensatory density-dependent responses, and as such challenge the generality that high subadult and adult survival is crucial for achieving long-term population stability in long-lived vertebrates such as chelonians. 6. We posit that long-lived species with 'fast' recruitment and a capacity for a compensatory demographic response, similar to C. rugosa, may be able to persist in the face of occasional or sustained adult harvest without inevitably threatening population viability.
Keywords age-specific fecundity
capture-mark-recapture
Chelidae
compensation
density dependence
juvenile recruitment
population regulation
survival
wildlife utilization
LIFE-HISTORY VARIATION
FRESH-WATER TURTLE
WET-DRY TROPICS
VONBERTALANFFY GROWTH CURVE
POPULATION-MODEL ANALYSIS
LOGGERHEAD SEA-TURTLE
LONG-LIVED ORGANISMS
CHELYDRA-SERPENTINA
DENSITY-DEPENDENCE
CHELODINA-RUGOSA
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2656.2007.01298.x   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)
 
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