Applying theories of life history and ageing to predict the adaptive response of Murray River turtles to climate change and habitat modification
Fiona K. Loudon, Ricky-John Spencer, 2012. "Applying theories of life history and ageing to predict the adaptive response of Murray River turtles to climate change and habitat modification", Wildlife and Climate Change: Towards robust conservation strategies for Australian fauna, Daniel Lunney, Hutchings Pat
Download citation file:
The Murray River has undergone considerable changes over the last 200 years and the floodplain and aquatic fauna have also changed dramatically. Introduced species, such as European carp (Cyprinus carpio), Red Foxes (Vulpes vulpes), and rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) are the predominant species in most areas, however, freshwater turtles, despite extremely high nest predation from foxes, remain among the highest biomass of any vertebrate in the ecosystem. The secret is their resilience through adaptive changes of a life history pattern that is strongly density dependent, however, with ongoing habitat modification and human-induced climate change, they may be at the limit of this adaptive resilience which will potentially lead to significant declines in the coming years. This review assesses how climate change predictions will affect habitat in the Murray River over the next 100 years and identifies how turtles may respond to these changes. We also identify key areas where management can facilitate adaptive strategies of turtles to a rapidly changing environment.