Effects of Rising Temperature on the Viability of an Important Sea Turtle Rookery


A warming world poses challenges for species with temperature-dependent sex determination, including sea turtles, for which warmer incubation temperatures produce female hatchlings. We combined in situ sand temperature measurements with air temperature records since 1850 and predicted warming scenarios from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to derive 250-year time series of incubation temperatures, hatchling sex ratios, and operational sex ratios for one of the largest sea turtles rookeries globally (Cape Verde Islands, Atlantic). We estimate that light-coloured beaches currently produce 70.10% females whereas dark-coloured beaches produce 93.46% females. Despite increasingly female skewed sex ratios, entire feminization of this population is not imminent. Rising temperatures increase the number of breeding females and hence the natural rate of population growth. Predicting climate warming impacts across hatchlings, male–female breeding ratios and nesting numbers provides a holistic approach to assessing the conservation concerns for sea turtles in a warming world.

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Author(s)Laloë JO
Cozens J
Renom B
Taxonera A
Hays GC
Published Date2014
Publication LanguageEnglish
TypeScientific Article
CMS InstrumentIOSEA Marine Turtles


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