Hawksbill turtles aren’t the only marine turtles threatened by the destabilizing effects of climate change, but a new study from researchers at Florida State University shows that this critically endangered species could be at particular risk.
In a study published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers from FSU’s Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science suggest that projected increases in air temperatures, rainfall inundation and blistering solar radiation could significantly reduce hawksbill hatching success at a selection of major nesting beaches.
Earth’s history abounds with examples of climate shifts, but researchers say today’s transforming climate, paired with unabated human development, imperils hawksbills and other marine turtles in new and alarming ways.
“Marine turtles have been around for millions of years, and during this time they have adapted to substantial climatic changes,” said Assistant Professor of Oceanography Mariana Fuentes, co-author of the study. “In the past they have adapted by shifting their nesting grounds and nesting season to align with more favorable conditions. However, increasing impacts to nesting habitats from coastal construction, storms and sea level rise are jeopardizing their ability to adapt.”
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