Climate change is predicted to impact the oceans with rising sea levels, as well as increasing storm frequency and severity. These two effects are both likely to threaten marine turtles in WA. Sea level rise may lead to the reduction in hatching success of marine turtle nests from sea water inundating the nests. The eggs are buried on the beach and must be kept warm by the sand that surrounds them. If high tides reach further up the beach then some of the nests may be flooded, turtles inside these eggs would then get too cold for further development to occur. Sea level rise may also lead to change of currently used rookery sites. As sea levels rise the coastline will change and currently used beaches may become unsuitable whilst areas that are not currently used may become rookery sites in the future.
What we are doing:
- We are working to ensure that marine turtles are included in climate change discussions at state, national and international levels.
- We are monitoring shoreline position along with other projects as well as looking at hatching success at reference sites and index beaches.
- Risk assessments and predictive modelling of potential impacts and vulnerable areas will be undertaken. Part of protecting turtles into the future will be to ensure potential future nesting sites and critical habitat are included in planning for protected areas.
What you can do:
- Sea level rise is also linked to climate change, so see advice from Pressure 3.