Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists Warn Of Climate Change Risk To Marine Turtles

Date:
February 22, 2007
Source:
University of Exeter
Summary:
North American marine turtles are at risk if global warming occurs at predicted levels, according to scientists from the University of Exeter. An increase in temperatures of just one degree Celsius could completely eliminate the birth of male turtles from some beaches. A rise of three degrees Celsius would lead to extreme levels of infant mortality and declines in nesting beaches across the USA.

Marine turtle. (Credit: Copyright Lucy Hawkes, MTRG)
Credit: Copyright Lucy Hawkes, MTRG

North American marine turtles are at risk if global warming occurs at predicted levels, according to scientists from the University of Exeter. An increase in temperatures of just one degree Celsius could completely eliminate the birth of male turtles from some beaches. A rise of three degrees Celsius would lead to extreme levels of infant mortality and declines in nesting beaches across the USA.

Research published this week in the journal Global Change Biology analyses 26 years of loggerhead turtle nesting and climate data and compares the findings with models for future temperatures. The study shows just how vulnerable marine turtle populations are to changes in temperature. The sex of marine turtle hatchlings is determined by the temperature of eggs during incubation, with warmer temperatures producing females and cooler conditions producing males. Temperatures during nesting also need to be at the right level for eggs to develop healthily and hatch successfully.

'We are stunned by these results and what they could mean for the species in the future,' said Dr Brendan Godley of the University of Exeter's School of Biosciences. 'In particular, we're concerned that populations that are already predominantly female could become 100% female if temperatures increase by just one degree. This is a major issue for nesting populations further south, in Florida, for example, where males are already in short supply.'

The research team recommends that conservation efforts are focused on protecting northern breeding grounds. While in Florida, 90% of hatchlings are female, in North Caroline 42% are male and scientists believe some of these males currently travel south, bolstering southern populations. A decline in male turtles in northern populations, as a result of global warming, could potentially impact marine turtles across the continent. 'We take this as an important step in identifying essential thermal habitat for marine turtles,' said study co-author Dr. Matthew Godfrey, of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. 'It highlights the need to establish measures to specifically protect male-producing beaches.'

Dr Brendan Godley continued: 'In the face of climate change, it's essential that we prioritise the protection of sites that produce males not only for local breeding success, but to help support potentially vulnerable populations further south.'

This work was carried by the University of Exeter in partnership with the Bald Head Island Conservancy and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Exeter. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Exeter. "Scientists Warn Of Climate Change Risk To Marine Turtles." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 February 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070220003809.htm>.
University of Exeter. (2007, February 22). Scientists Warn Of Climate Change Risk To Marine Turtles. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070220003809.htm
University of Exeter. "Scientists Warn Of Climate Change Risk To Marine Turtles." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070220003809.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the industry fell under intense scrutiny. Now, small underground nuclear power plants are being considered as the possible future of the nuclear energy. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins