- Pierre LELONG
Prevalence, distribution and etiology of fibropapillomatosis in immature green turtles (Chelonia mydas) of the West Indies
The fibropapillomatosis (FP) is a deadly neoplastic disease recorded in all of the seven sea turtle species but is more frequently observed in green turtles. At the first stages, this disease is characterized by external tumors on soft tissues but could evolve in internal tumors, blood parameter and behavior disorder which could potentially lead to the death of the animal. The Chelonid Herpesvirus 5 (ChHV5) has been frequently associated to FP tumors and could be an aetiologic agent of the disease.
The recent increasing in FP prevalence despite a million years coexistence between turtles and ChHV5 suggests a significant role played by environmental cofactors. FP is frequently associated with pollution of coastal waters close to human activity. Metallic contaminants, persistent organic pollutants and eutrophication associated with a high rate of arginine in sea turtle foraging resources are suspected to facilitate the turtle sensibility to FP.
The aim of this PhD is to provide knowledges on 1) the proportion of green turtles with FP clinical signs in the population studied and on the triggering factors of the disease, on 2) the genetic variations of ChHV5 between geographic locality and their implications on the etiology and symptomatology of the disease, and on 3) the demographic, physiological and behavioral consequences of the disease on green turtles.