Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Florida
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Florida Project

Effects of climate change on barrier island habitat and nesting sea turtles.

March 2009 - May 2012


Participating Agencies

  • USGS
  • Eglin Air Force Base

As the global climate changes it is likely to have significant effects on coastal habitats and the species that rely on this habitat for survival. Warmer temperatures and rising seas can increase beach erosion, altering oceanographic patterns and influencing sand temperatures. These changes to the coastal environment may greatly affect species such as sea turtles. Sea turtles spend most of their life at sea but rely on the shoreline for one critical life-history phase: nesting. Changes to beach topography, sand temperatures and oceanographic patterns may impact nesting success, change incubation rates and influence nesting site fidelity. Determining the effects of climate change on nesting sea turtles will help provide better management information for this threatened species.