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Simulated growth and reproduction of green turtles (Chelonia mydas) under climate change and marine heatwave scenarios

Stubbs, Jessica L.; Marn, Nina; Vanderklift, Mathew A.; Fossette, Sabrina; Mitchell, Nicola J. (2020) Simulated growth and reproduction of green turtles (Chelonia mydas) under climate change and marine heatwave scenarios. Ecological Modelling, 431 . ISSN 0304-3800

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Environmental conditions experienced by animals constrain their energy acquisition and its subsequent allocation to growth and reproduction, which ultimately contributes to population dynamics. Understanding how environmental conditions affect these physiological processes is therefore important for predicting how threatened species will respond to altered food and temperature conditions. Here we use a mechanistic modelling approach based on Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) theory to demonstrate that changing food availability has a strong impact on growth and reproduction for a Western Australian population of green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas), particularly in scenarios with simulated marine heatwaves. Models predicted increasing time between nesting years in scenarios of decreasing food availability. Furthermore, increased frequency of marine heatwaves reduced reproductive output with the number of eggs a female produced in its lifetime predicted to be approximately 20% lower when heatwaves occurred every five years compared to every 20 years. Our predictions suggest that frequent marine heatwaves could have similar adverse effects to long-term decreases in food availability. In all scenarios, direct impacts of changes in temperature were less pronounced and suggest that the strongest impacts of the increasing temperatures of climate change will be mediated through food availability. The approach demonstrated here provides a strong foundation for understanding how the Ningaloo C. mydas population will respond to climate change, and can be refined as new physiological, behavioural, and environmental data become available.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Chelonia mydas; Ningaloo Reef; Climate change; Life history; Food availability; Temperature; Marine heatwave; Dynamic Energy Budget
Subjects: NATURAL SCIENCES > Mathematics > Applied Mathematics and Mathematical Modeling
NATURAL SCIENCES > Biology > Zoology
NATURAL SCIENCES > Biology > Ecology
NATURAL SCIENCES > Interdisciplinary Natural Sciences
NATURAL SCIENCES > Interdisciplinary Natural Sciences > Marine Science
NATURAL SCIENCES > Interdisciplinary Natural Sciences > Environmental Science
Divisions: Division for Marine and Enviromental Research
Project titleProject leaderProject codeProject type
Prilagodba uzgoja bijele ribe klimatskim promjenama-AqADAPTTin KlanjscekIP-2018-01-3150HRZZ
Depositing User: Nina Marn
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2020 06:53
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2020.109185

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