As this week’s United Nations Convention on Climate Change wraps up in Copenhagen, I thought it would be worthwhile to consider the effects of climate change on sea turtles.
According to the Sea Turtle Restoration Project, who recently completed a report on the topic and presented it in Copenhagen, sea turtles are impacted by climate change in three ways.
1) Rising ocean levels. Rises in ocean levels reduce the amount of beach on which sea turtle females can nest.
2) Increasing temperatures. Whether or not a sea turtle egg develops into a male or female depends on the temperature at which the egg incubates. Warmer temperatures create more females. If there aren’t enough males, the population cannot survive. At the hottest temperatures, eggs won’t hatch at all.
3) Changes to ocean currents. When ocean currents change, sea turtles may be thrown far out of their habitat and may be unable to return to feed or nest.
For the full report from Sea Turtle Restoration Project, click here.