turtles skewed

Some of Australia’s most vulnerable native animals could die out as climate change takes its toll on their already fragile existence.

The warning is contained in a report that catalogues the risks facing 11 species from the impact of rising temperatures and rainfall decline.

The report, produced by environmental group WWF and a research team from Macquarie University, says global warming could skew the sex ratios for marine turtles in favour of females, as sex is determined by the incubation temperature of eggs.

Tammie Matson from the WWF, said while Australian species had adapted to climate change in the past, many were now suffering from habitat loss and introduced predators.

“Climate change is just another factor in the mix that could spell extinction for a number of species,” Dr Matson said. “It will exacerbate existing threats. It will tip some species over the edge.”

The Age (Australia), 25 Mat 2008 – screen copy held by this website