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The last glacial age for marine turtles?
Marine turtles may not survive the end of the current glacial age as their nesting areas are progressively being submerged or eroded.
Marine turtles dig their nests on the sandy beaches of the tropical and subtropical zones of the planet. As soon as they are laid, their eggs are under attack from many predators, such as human beings who eat them or crabs that make holes in them. In recent years, the small turtles have also been threatened by global warming with rising sea levels and the increase in extreme climatic events (such as storms, hurricanes, and cyclones). In essence, little by little, beaches are becoming either eroded or flooded. Nevertheless, the marine turtles survived the previous glacial ages by modifying their migration routes and choosing alternative nesting sites. However, this ability to adapt might not be enough this time as their environment is changing much too quickly and the potential nesting sites are either already occupied or destroyed by human infrastructures.
Fish et al. 2005. Predicting the Impact of Sea-Level Rise on Caribbean Sea Turtle Nesting Habitat. Conservation Biology 19(2):482-491.
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