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      Climate change and marine turtles: recent advances and future directions

      1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 2 , 5
      Endangered Species Research
      Inter-Research Science Center

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          Abstract

          Climate change is a threat to marine turtles that is expected to affect all of their life stages. To guide future research, we conducted a review of the most recent literature on this topic, highlighting knowledge gains and research gaps since a similar previous review in 2009. Most research has been focussed on the terrestrial life history phase, where expected impacts will range from habitat loss and decreased reproductive success to feminization of populations, but changes in reproductive periodicity, shifts in latitudinal ranges, and changes in foraging success are all expected in the marine life history phase. Models have been proposed to improve estimates of primary sex ratios, while technological advances promise a better understanding of how climate can influence different life stages and habitats. We suggest a number of research priorities for an improved understanding of how climate change may impact marine turtles, including: improved estimates of primary sex ratios, assessments of the implications of female-biased sex ratios and reduced male production, assessments of the variability in upper thermal limits of clutches, models of beach sediment movement under sea level rise, and assessments of impacts on foraging grounds. Lastly, we suggest that it is not yet possible to recommend manipulating aspects of turtle nesting ecology, as the evidence base with which to understand the results of such interventions is not robust enough, but that strategies for mitigation of stressors should be helpful, providing they consider the synergistic effects of climate change and other anthropogenic-induced threats to marine turtles, and focus on increasing resilience.

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          Impact of climate change on marine pelagic phenology and trophic mismatch.

          Phenology, the study of annually recurring life cycle events such as the timing of migrations and flowering, can provide particularly sensitive indicators of climate change. Changes in phenology may be important to ecosystem function because the level of response to climate change may vary across functional groups and multiple trophic levels. The decoupling of phenological relationships will have important ramifications for trophic interactions, altering food-web structures and leading to eventual ecosystem-level changes. Temperate marine environments may be particularly vulnerable to these changes because the recruitment success of higher trophic levels is highly dependent on synchronization with pulsed planktonic production. Using long-term data of 66 plankton taxa during the period from 1958 to 2002, we investigated whether climate warming signals are emergent across all trophic levels and functional groups within an ecological community. Here we show that not only is the marine pelagic community responding to climate changes, but also that the level of response differs throughout the community and the seasonal cycle, leading to a mismatch between trophic levels and functional groups.
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            Biodiversity redistribution under climate change: Impacts on ecosystems and human well-being

            Distributions of Earth's species are changing at accelerating rates, increasingly driven by human-mediated climate change. Such changes are already altering the composition of ecological communities, but beyond conservation of natural systems, how and why does this matter? We review evidence that climate-driven species redistribution at regional to global scales affects ecosystem functioning, human well-being, and the dynamics of climate change itself. Production of natural resources required for food security, patterns of disease transmission, and processes of carbon sequestration are all altered by changes in species distribution. Consideration of these effects of biodiversity redistribution is critical yet lacking in most mitigation and adaptation strategies, including the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals.
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              Climate tipping points — too risky to bet against

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Endangered Species Research
                Endang. Species. Res.
                Inter-Research Science Center
                1863-5407
                1613-4796
                April 08 2021
                April 08 2021
                : 44
                : 363-395
                Affiliations
                [1 ]MARE - Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre, ISPA - Instituto Universitário, 1149-041 Lisbon, Portugal
                [2 ]Centre for Ecology and Conservation, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Penryn TR10 9FE, UK
                [3 ]Hatherley Laboratories, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Streatham Campus, Exeter EX4 4PS, UK
                [4 ]Department of Zoology and Entomology, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 6139, South Africa
                [5 ]Marine Turtle Research, Ecology and Conservation Group, Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA
                Article
                10.3354/esr01110
                1333dabf-671f-4f87-9d37-2f3fbb96f2ce
                © 2021

                Free to read

                https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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