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Seasonal heterogeneity of ocean warming: a mortality sink for ectotherm colonizers
Maffucci, F.; Corrado, R.; Palatella, L.; Borra, M.; Marullo, S.; Hochscheid, S.; Lacorata, G.; Iudicone, D. (2016). Seasonal heterogeneity of ocean warming: a mortality sink for ectotherm colonizers. NPG Scientific Reports 6(23983): 9 pp.
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Authors  Top 
  • Maffucci, F.
  • Corrado, R.
  • Palatella, L.
  • Borra, M.
  • Marullo, S.
  • Hochscheid, S.
  • Lacorata, G.
  • Iudicone, D.

    Distribution shifts are a common adaptive response of marine ectotherms to climate change but the pace of redistribution depends on species-specific traits that may promote or hamper expansion to northern habitats. Here we show that recently, the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) has begun to nest steadily beyond the northern edge of the species’ range in the Mediterranean basin. This range expansion is associated with a significant warming of spring and summer sea surface temperature (SST) that offers a wider thermal window suitable for nesting. However, we found that post-hatchlings departing from this location experience low winter SST that may affect their survival and thus hamper the stabilization of the site by self-recruitment. The inspection of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change model projections and observational data on SST trends shows that, despite the annual warming for this century, winter SST show little or no trends. Therefore, thermal constraints during the early developmental phase may limit the chance of population growth at this location also in the near future, despite increasingly favourable conditions at the nesting sites. Quantifying and understanding the interplay between dispersal and environmental changes at all life stages is critical for predicting ectotherm range expansion with climate warming.

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