Abstract

Ectothermic species are strongly affected by thermal changes. To assess the viability of these species under climate change constraints, we need to quantify the sensitivity of their life history traits to temperature. The loggerhead marine turtle (Caretta caretta) nests regularly in the Oriental Basin of the Mediterranean Sea. The different populations are separated because of time (< 12,000 yrs) and very different thermal habitats; it is hotter on the southern coast (Libya) than on the northern ones (Cyprus, Greece, and Turkey). Patterns of embryo growth response to incubation temperatures have been searched for these 2 populations. We found that both populations have similar thermal reaction norms for embryonic growth rate. This highlights that 12,000 yrs is not enough time for this species to adapt to specific thermal habitats and raises the question of the persistence of these populations in the context of rapid climate change.

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