TITLE

Inoculative freezing promotes winter survival in hatchling diamondback terrapin, Malaclemys terrapin

AUTHOR(S)
Baker, P. J.; Costanzo, J. P.; Herlands, R.; Wood, R. C.; Lee Jr., R. E..
PUB. DATE
January 2006
SOURCE
Canadian Journal of Zoology;Jan2006, Vol. 84 Issue 1, p116
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
We investigated the hibernation ecology and cold hardiness of hatchling diamondback terrapins, Malaclemys terrapin (Schoepf, 1793), an estuarine species that reaches 42°N along the Atlantic Ocean. During 3 years of study, about 50% of the nests we monitored harboured hatchlings during winter, and the majority (87%) of these individuals survived despite being intermittently exposed to subfreezing temperatures. Most such exposures were brief (ca. 12 h) and mild (minimum temperature: ca. –1.2 °C); however, turtles were occasionally subjected to longer chilling episodes and lower temperatures. In laboratory experiments, hatchlings supercooled extensively, attaining ca. –15 °C before spontaneously freezing. However, they were highly susceptible to inoculative freezing through contact with external ice and (or) ice-nucleating agents, which occur in nesting soil. Therefore, freeze avoidance through supercooling does not appear to be a viable cold-hardiness strategy in these turtles. Hatchlings subjected to experimental freezing survived exposure to temperatures as low as –3.0 °C, suggesting that freeze tolerance may account for the high winter survival observed in natural nests. We conclude that freeze tolerance in hatchling M. terrapin is promoted by high susceptibility to inoculation, which is known to moderate freezing, allowing cells time to adapt to the attendant physical and osmotic stresses.
ACCESSION #
20286233

 

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