Project title: Habitat use and the consequences of changing environment on the loggerhead sea turtle, Caretta caretta
Summary: As the fifth IPCC Assessment Report predicts on-going climate change, it is still largely unknown how species, habitats and ecosystems will respond. In the dynamic marine environment, climate change is associated with shifts in an array of biotic and abiotic variables, along with the characteristic warming of waters. The rates of such change have particular significance for long-lived ectotherms such as the loggerhead sea turtle, Caretta caretta. Here, incorporating the interactions between two critical life history stages – nesting and foraging – I will develop an integrated model to determine global habitat shift in response to the anticipated changes in the abiotic profile of the marine environment. I will also investigate to what extent maternal input, in the form of hormone transfer to offspring, can influence thermal pressures on temperature-sex dependent offspring in this species. The overarching goals are to develop a more in-depth understanding of species responses in a complex environment, and predict the population dynamics of sea turtles in a changing world.