Love is hot, truth is molten

Tuatara.jpg It’s a bleak outlook for sexual equality in tuatara refuges in the Cook Strait. By the end of the century, their nesting sites could have warmed up enough to make all hatchlings male. Nature News reports on new, detailed modelling of how tuatara’s island homes will respond to climate warming:

With the aid of computer software, the researchers combined the physics of heat transfer with terrain data for the four-hectare North Brother Island in New Zealand’s Cook Strait. Using the exact coordinates of 52 known nesting sites of the rarest species of tuatara (Sphenodon guntheri), along with a database of current soil properties and their constant temperature equivalent, the researchers simulated climate change and then monitored its effect on specific points across the island. They found that based on maximum warming predictions, tuatara, which hatch as males when nest temperature during development moves above 21.5°C, will be incapable of producing females.

Fortunately there’s a solution: tuatara tents, and camping holidays in cool places.

“We can put shade cloth over their nesting sites to effectively change their sex ratio back to a 1-to-1 ratio even if the planet warms — or start translocating them to other places that would be more suitable, ” [research leader Nicola] Mitchell [of the University of Western Australia in Perth] adds. “Translocations are already occurring to the mainland and we now have a tool to identify which locations would produce favourable sex ratios.”

[Mitchell, N. J. , Kearney, M. R. , Nelson, N. J. & Porter, W. P. Proc. R. Soc. B doi:10.1098/rspb.2008.0438 (2008).]

7 thoughts on “Love is hot, truth is molten”

  1. Are you saying NZ has never been so hot over the past 10M years or so since we have been separate? Did not kill them then did it?
    BTW, any commentary on the cool RSS/UAH data? 2008 is a real cold year around the world. So the Tuatara is safe for now. GISTEMP has showed no warming trend for the past 7 years dispite Hansen doctoring tem. stations.
    Peter Bickle

  2. Peter – did you even look at GISTEMP recently? Or are you just taking the latest talking points from Junkscience? The physics behind climate science hasn’t changed in the last ten years, and the trend is still very much upwards.

  3. In his first post Peter neglects to follow the link to read what the article actually says.
    Although during the past 200 million years tuatara have survived ice ages and previous bouts of global warming, escape routes to colder climes were available to them before.
    “Relative to the past, tuatara now have few places to hide, if anything their genetic inertia is now elevated.”
    The loss of habitat (i.e. anywhere on the mainland) and loss of most of the population makes their outlook pretty grim.

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