Size, siring success and multiple paternity in the gopher tortoise (gopherus polyphemus)
White, Kimberly Nicole
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I evaluated the rate of multiple paternity and the effects of male size on likelihood of siring offspring and how many offspring a sire in a population of gopher tortoises at Archbold Biological Station in Florida. Additionally, I assessed how the ratio of male:female size influenced multiple paternity patterns. I collected nests in 2015 and 2016. Using microsatellite markers, I genotyped all hatchlings and most potential dams and sires in the population. I observed multiple paternity in 24% of clutches, within range of previously reported rates. Larger males were significantly more likely to sire offspring than smaller males. Additionally, size was positively correlated (though not significant) with number of offspring sired. I found no effect of male:female size ratios on clutch paternity. Understanding factors influencing reproduction of this declining species may be important for developing management strategies that maximize evenness in reproductive success.