Resilience of marine turtle regional management units to climate change

Fuentes, Marianna M.P.B., Pike, David A., Dimatteo, Andrew, and Wallace, Bryan P. (2013) Resilience of marine turtle regional management units to climate change. Global Change Biology, 19 (5). pp. 1399-1406.

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Abstract

Enhancing species resilience to changing environmental conditions is often suggested as a climate change adaptation strategy. To effectively achieve this, it is necessary first to understand the factors that determine species resilience, and their relative importance in shaping the ability of species to adjust to the complexities of environmental change. This is an extremely challenging task because it requires comprehensive information on species traits. We explored the resilience of 58 marine turtle regional management units (RMUs) to climate change, encompassing all seven species of marine turtles worldwide. We used expert opinion from the IUCN-SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group (n = 33 respondents) to develop a Resilience Index, which considered qualitative characteristics of each RMU (relative population size, rookery vulnerability, and genetic diversity) and non climate-related threats (fisheries, take, coastal development, and pollution/pathogens). Our expert panel perceived rookery vulnerability (the likelihood of functional rookeries becoming extirpated) and non climate-related threats as having the greatest influence on resilience of RMUs to climate change. We identified the world's 13 least resilient marine turtle RMUs to climate change, which are distributed within all three major ocean basins and include six of the world's seven species of marine turtle. Our study provides the first look at inter- and intra-species variation in resilience to climate change and highlights the need to devise metrics that measure resilience directly. We suggest that this approach can be widely used to help prioritize future actions that increase species resilience to climate change.

Item ID: 25616
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: climate change adaptation; conservation planning; expert opinion; flatback turtle; green turtle; hawksbill turtle; leatherback turtle; loggerhead turtle; olive ridley turtle; sea turtle
ISSN: 1365-2486
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2013 06:18
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 40%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060207 Population Ecology @ 10%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960301 Climate Change Adaptation Measures @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 30%
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