Tortoises and climate change paper, highly cited

Our publication in Global Change Biology has reached 21 citations, making it the top cited one in my research gate profile. In this paper, we examined the relationship between tortoise survival and meteorological variables at Punta de la Banya reserve in the Ebro Delta Natural Park (Catalonia, Spain), and used this information, together with known survival and fecundity values from other populations across Southern Europe, to forecast local population growth under different climatic scenarios for the global geographic distribution of the species. This research highlighted first a positive relationship between winter rainfall and juvenile tortoise survival, and second, the higher vulnerability to climate change of populations already suffering a large number of threats diminishing their fitness (urbanization, fires, mesopredator increases, poaching). The figure below shows the predicted population growth under a dry (low rainfall) scenario for the 21st century (red-orange = population decrease, blue= population increase, yellow-green = stable). In this worst case scenario, even populations living in protected areas without human disturbances, such as those in Punta de la Banya, could become extinct by the end of the century due to a loss of new recruits caused by increasing aridity.

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