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(P076) Examining calcium homeostasis in hatchling Snapping Turtles.
Ashpole, Sara*,1, McWilliams, Deborah2, Pauli, Bruce3, Fernie, Kim4, 1 University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada2 American Zoological Association Nutrition Advisory Group (AZA-NAG), Guelph, Ontario, Canada3 Canadian Wildlife Service, National Wildlife Research Center, Hull, Quebec, Canada4 Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada, Burlington, Ontario, Canada
ABSTRACT- Environmental contaminants may interfere with calcium homeostasis. We investigated whether disruptions of calcium homeostasis could be measured in hatchling Snapping Turtles (Chelydra serpentina) hatched from eggs laid in contaminated areas. Eggs were collected at sites in the Detroit River-Lake Erie corridor. A sub-sample of eggs was analyzed for contaminants and the remainder of the clutch artificially incubated. At 5 months of age the following endpoints were examined in hatchlings from six contaminated (N=23) and two reference sites (N=15): growth, malformations, qualitative bone assessment (using radiography) and sex. Ash analyses (total minerals, mainly calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium) were conducted on each hatchling using the bones of the pelvic girdle. Metals were analyzed on one pooled sample of all contaminated sites. Strontium, a calcium analogue, was measured in samples pooled by site (N=8). Strontium levels in bones from hatchlings from contaminated sites and reference sites ranged from 73 to 128 g/g and 57 to 66 g/g, respectively. In addition, animals from the most contaminated site had a higher percentage ash (P < 0.05). No differences were detected in deformity rates or total number of deformities per individual, but ash analysis suggests that hatchlings from the site with the highest level of strontium contamination had more calcified tissue. Our results suggest that further research is required on the effects of environmental contaminants on skeletal development in aquatic turtles.
Key words: snapping turtle, calcium , strontium, bone
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