Expanded thermal niche for a diving vertebrate: A leatherback turtle diving into near-freezing water

TitleExpanded thermal niche for a diving vertebrate: A leatherback turtle diving into near-freezing water
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
Refereed DesignationRefereed
AuthorsJames, M., Davenport J., & Hays G.
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Volume335
Issue2
Pagination221 - 226
Date Published08/2006
ISSN00220981
Abstract

The global distribution of extant reptiles is more limited than that of mammals or birds, with low reptilian species diversity at high latitudes. Central to this limited geographical distribution is the ectothermic nature of reptiles, which means that they generally become torpid at cold temperatures. However, here we report the first detailed telemetry from a leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) diving in cold water at high latitude. An individual equipped with a satellite tag that relayed temperature–depth profiles dived continuously for many weeks into sub-surface waters as cold as 0.4 °C. Global warming will likely increase the foraging range of leatherback turtles further into temperate and boreal waters.

DOI10.1016/j.jembe.2006.03.013
Short TitleJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology