Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 1.50.17 PMNew Report Available

Sea turtles, inhabiting the world’s oceans for 150 million years, have survived natural climate change events including the last Ice Age. But the current pace of climate change will be faster than anything experienced in the last 10,000 years, and therefore is an unprecedented threat to sea turtles whose populations are already vulnerable from human activities. While climate change may not have led to the current decline of sea turtles, climate change impacts are now being seen, and it is a serious problem that must be addressed to help protect these ancient ocean dwellers from disappearing forever. Sea turtle populations are already vulnerable and the additional impacts from climate change will further hamper the recovery of sea turtle populations to healthy levels. Climate change will impact sea turtles in the following ways:
  • Loss of nesting beaches and coastal habitat through rising sea levels, an increase in storm surges, eroding shorelines, and coastal barrier projects;
  • Increased female gender bias in hatchlings;
  • Reduced hatching success from high temperatures and increased storm events
  • Decreased or shifting food supply; and
  • Changing ocean currents impacting migration.
One impact of sea level rise is the loss or diminishment of beaches, including those on which sea turtles nest. In this report, we examine the impacts of sea level rise on major sea turtle nesting beaches for the seven species of sea turtles. From existing data and sea level rise projections, we have identified two major US nesting beach areas that are at risk from climate change: French Frigate Shoals in Hawaii and Padre Island National Seashore in Texas. Click here to download the report.