Mary River Turtle in Danger From Global Warming

Australia has a rare turtle restricted to the Mary River in Queensland. The University of Queensland has concluded that global warming will seriously endanger this species. Eggs were collected and incubated at 26, 29 and 32 degree Centigrade. Young turtles from eggs incubated at the highest temperature stayed in shallow water because they had difficulty swimming.

Life expectancy would be short for these young. Food is in deeper water and there is safety from predators. The Mary River turtle, Elesor macrurus, is classed as endangered. Numbers have been falling for several decades. Other dangers to their survival are eggs being collected to the pet trade and introduced predators such as dogs and foxes.

It is suspected that other species of turtle are similarly affected. Circumstances for the Mary River turtle are particularly dire because nests are in shallow water which can be directly affected by a warming atmosphere.
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