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A Review of the Effects of Climate Change on Chelonians

Department of Biology, University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, OK 73020, USA
Diversity 2019, 11(8), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/d11080138 (registering DOI)
Received: 11 July 2019 / Revised: 11 August 2019 / Accepted: 13 August 2019 / Published: 16 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Biology and Conservation of Turtles)
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Abstract

Climate change is occurring at an unprecedented rate and has begun to modify the distribution and phenology of organisms worldwide. Chelonians are expected to be particularly vulnerable due to limited dispersal capabilities as well as widespread temperature-dependent sex determination. The number of papers published about the effects of climate change on turtles has increased exponentially over the last decade; here, I review the data from peer-reviewed publications to assess the likely impacts of climate change on individuals, populations, and communities. Based upon these studies future research should focus on: (1) Individual responses to climate change, particularly with respect to thermal biology, phenology, and microhabitat selection; (2) improving species distribution models by incorporating fine-scale environmental variables as well as physiological processes; (3) identifying the consequences of skewed sex ratios; and (4) assessments of community resilience and the development of methods to mitigate climate change impacts. Although detailed management recommendations are not possible at this point, careful consideration should be given regarding how to manage low vagility species as habitats shift poleward. In the worst-case scenario, proactive management may be required in order to ensure that widespread losses do not occur. View Full-Text
Keywords: chelonian; turtle; tortoise; climate change; species distribution model; ecological niche model; temperature-dependent sex determination chelonian; turtle; tortoise; climate change; species distribution model; ecological niche model; temperature-dependent sex determination
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Butler, C.J. A Review of the Effects of Climate Change on Chelonians. Diversity 2019, 11, 138.

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