Dry, arid weather, which is increasingly found in some areas of the Pacific Ocean, it is the cause of death of eggs and fry giant leatherback turtles, as well as adult animals were deprived of food.
Environmentalists have come to the conclusion that global warming could be fatal for the giant leatherback turtles, exacerbating the already difficult situation of these reptiles. Article with this conclusion was published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Leatherback sea turtle Dermochelys coriacea is the largest representative of the turtle, the size of its shell can reach two meters. In recent decades, the population of these turtles is rapidly declining. The reason for this are the fishing nets in which turtles are often killed, and poachers who collect their eggs on the beach.
By constructing three different models of climate change impacts on the reproduction and survival of turtles, environmentalists have concluded that global warming is also making a significant contribution to the continuing decline in their numbers. If the model is correct, and the climate will change at the same rate as now, the population of turtles living in the eastern Pacific Ocean, each year will be reduced by 7% and by 2100 to reduce by 75%.
The researchers studied the turtles laying eggs on the sandy beaches of Costa Rica. "In 1990 alone, the Playa Grande Eggs are laid over 1,500 turtles, now for the season arrives here only 30-40 females," — said James Spoto, one of the authors of the work.
To the coast of Costa Rica attracts turtles abundance of jellyfish, which are most abundant in the cold and wet months. However, in recent years in this part of the Pacific Ocean during the breeding turtles is more warm and dry weather, which prevents turtles their food base. In addition, the higher temperature of the sand on the beaches of Costa Rica increases the percentage of loss of eggs and newly hatched turtles.
Climate warming also shifts the sex ratio in the population of turtles. The fact that the reptile sex depends on the temperature at which the egg develops. At higher temperatures appear female, and at a lower — males. As a result, the leatherback turtle eggs hatch has disproportionately few males, also adversely affects the reproduction of these animals.