Abstract

Health evaluations were conducted in the northwestern Atlantic for 19 leatherback turtles, which included 12 turtles directly captured as part of a satellite telemetry study and 7 turtles entangled in fishing gear. Assessment included physical examination; determination of heart rate and respiratory rate; and hematologic, plasma biochemical, nutritional, toxicologic, parasitologic, and microbiological investigations. Significant differences were found between directly captured and entangled turtles for curved carapace length, curved carapace width, blood urea nitrogen, chloride, sodium, triglycerides, relative heterophil count, relative monocyte count, relative and absolute eosinophil count, pH, bicarbonate, lead, and beta-hydroxybutyrate. Directly captured turtles showed evidence of mild respiratory acidosis. Significant differences were found between sexes for curved carapace length, curved carapace width, total protein, globulin, sodium, relative monocyte count, gamma-globulin, and anion gap. Relatively high blood concentrations of selenium and cadmium were found in all turtles.

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