Turtles Must Go North to Survive


By Paul Homewood

h/t Ian Magness

Pinky and Perky to emigrate to North Pole:

Joe Pinkstone is one of the new generation of journalists, who do not bother checking the facts and naively believe every silly scare story thrown their way. A few years ago, for instance, he told us that lager prices would double because severe droughts caused by climate change were going to decimate barley fields.

If he had bothered to actually read this new report, he would have found out that the authors were not saying turtles would be forced north, rather that their range would expand northwards. Sure, there may be some regional changes, but these would be caused by long term changes in precipitation. And as the authors admit, projections of precipitation trends are notoriously untrustworthy.

Bear in mind that the study looks at non-marine turtles, I doubt whether any of us have seen hordes of turtles heading up the M1, given that we are already 1C warmer than the Little Ice Age.


Here is a link to the study


  • Non-marine turtles invaded higher paleolatitudes several times in the past
  • Non-marine turtles reached their highest latitudes in the Cenomanian and Eocene
  • Occupation of high paleolatitudes is projected at extreme emission scenarios
  • Human occupation at high latitudes may prevent turtle adaptation to climate change


Past responses to environmental change provide vital baseline data for estimating the potential resilience of extant taxa to future change. Here, we investigate the latitudinal range contraction that terrestrial and freshwater turtles (Testudinata) experienced from the Late Cretaceous to the Paleogene (100.5–23.03 mya) in response to major climatic changes. We apply ecological niche modeling (ENM) to reconstruct turtle niches, using ancient and modern distribution data, paleogeographic reconstructions, and the HadCM3L climate model to quantify their range shifts in the Cretaceous and late Eocene. We then use the insights provided by these models to infer their probable ecological responses to future climate scenarios at different representative concentration pathways (RCPs 4.5 and 8.5 for 2100), which project globally increased temperatures and spreading arid biomes at lower to mid-latitudes. We show that turtle ranges are predicted to expand poleward in the Northern Hemisphere, with decreased habitat suitability at lower latitudes, inverting a trend of latitudinal range contraction that has been prevalent since the Eocene. Trionychids and freshwater turtles can more easily track their niches than Testudinidae and other terrestrial groups. However, habitat destruction and fragmentation at higher latitudes will probably reduce the capability of turtles and tortoises to cope with future climate changes.

The entire study is open access and available here.

via Watts Up With That?


December 23, 2022 at 09:05AM

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