Blood Chemistry Data

Hematocrit and Plasma Biochemical Data for Sea Turtles in Florida

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To monitor the physiological status of wild populations of sea turtles to ensure recovery of these threatened and endangered species, baseline hematocrit and blood biochemical reference intervals need to be established.

To accomplish this recovery goal, we have developed a multidisciplinary collaboration that includes the College of Veterinary Medicine (University of Florida), the Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research (University of Florida), the St. Lucie Power Plant (Florida Power and Light Corporation), the Marinelife Center of Juno Beach, and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

Our research project is funded by the Florida Sea Turtle Grants Program.

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Throughout the year, as sea turtles enter the Port St Lucie Power Plant canal system, they are removed, weighed, measured and tagged prior to release in the nearby Atlantic Ocean. Approximately 800 to 1000 turtles are removed per year. While most of the turtles caught in this system are green turtles (Chelonia mydas) and loggerheads (Caretta caretta), hawksbills (Eretmochelys imbricata), Kemp’s ridleys (Lepidochelys kempii) and leatherbacks (Dermochelys coriacea) also are trapped and removed.

We collect blood from all sea turtles that are caught in the St. Lucie Power Plant canal system and determine reference baselines for hematocrit (packed cell volumes, PCV) and for plasma biochemicals. Additionally, plasma protein electrophoretograms allow for the determinations of the following protein fractions: pre-albumin, albumin, alpha globulins, beta globulins, and gamma globulins. We update the data presented at this website at regular intervals.

Hematocrit (PCV) and Plasma Biochemical Data (monthly means)

Protein Electrophoretogram Fractions (monthly means)

Background reference on protein electrophoresis:

How to cite the data presented at this website:

  • Jacobson, E., K. Bjorndal, A. Bolten, R. Herren, G. Harman, and L. Wood. Establishing plasma biochemical and hematocrit reference intervals for sea turtles in Florida.

Background References

  • Aguirre, A.A. 1996. Plasma biochemistry values of green turtles (Chelonia mydas) with and without fibropapillomas in the Hawaiian Islands. U.S. Department of Commerce (NOAA-TM-NMFS-SWFSC-H-96-10C), Washington, D.C., 15 pp.
  • Bolten, A.B. and K.A. Bjorndal. 1992. Blood profiles for a wild population of green turtles (Chelonia mydas) in the southern Bahamas: size-specific and sex-specific relationships. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 28:407-413.
  • Bolten, A.B., E.R. Jacobson and K.A. Bjorndal. 1992. Effects of anticoagulant and autoanalyzer on blood biochemical values of loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta). American Journal of Veterinary Research 53:2224-2227.
  • Bolten, A.B., K.A. Bjorndal, P.J. Eliazar and L.F. Gregory. 1994. Seasonal abundance, size distribution, and blood biochemical values of loggerheads (Caretta caretta) in Port Canaveral Ship Channel, Florida. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-SEFSC-353. 39 pages.
  • Swimmer, JY. 2000. Biochemical responses to fibropapilloma and captivity in the green turtle. Journal of Wildlife Diseases. 36:102-110.

For further information, please contact:

Elliott Jacobson
College of Veterinary Medicine
PO Box 100126
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida 32611 USA
Email: JacobsonE@ufl.edu

or

Alan Bolten
Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research
PO Box 118525
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida 32611 USA
Email: accstr@ufl.edu