Nov 10, 2009

Chapter 2. Vulnerability of marine turtles to climate change

Advances in Marine Biology
Elvira PoloczanskaGraeme C Hays

Abstract

Marine turtles are generally viewed as vulnerable to climate change because of the role that temperature plays in the sex determination of embryos, their long life history, long age-to-maturity and their highly migratory nature. Extant species of marine turtles probably arose during the mid-late Jurassic period (180-150 Mya) so have survived past shifts in climate, including glacial periods and warm events and therefore have some capacity for adaptation. The present-day rates of increase of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, and associated temperature changes, are very rapid; the capacity of marine turtles to adapt to this rapid change may be compromised by their relatively long generation times. We consider the evidence and likely consequences of present-day trends of climate change on marine turtles. Impacts are likely to be complex and may be positive as well as negative. For example, rising sea levels and increased storm intensity will negatively impact turtle nesting beaches; however, extreme storms can also lead to coastal accretion. Alteration of wind patterns and ocean currents will have implications for juveniles and adults in the open ocean. Warming temperatures are likely to impact directly all turtle life st...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Eretmochelys imbricata
Embryo
Caretta caretta
Salmo salar
Jellyfish
Coral
Animal Migration
Ravens
Vitellogenesis
Spleen

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