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Geofísica internacional

versión impresa ISSN 0016-7169


CALVILLO GARCIA, Yuritzi et al. Modeling sea-level change, inundation scenarios, and their effect on the Colola Beach Reserve - a nesting-habitat of the black sea turtle, Michoacán, Mexico. Geofís. Intl [online]. 2015, vol.54, n.2, pp.179-190. ISSN 0016-7169.

The effects of climate change will vary regionally. However, the mean temperature will rise worldwide, and the concomitant rise in sea level will affect most coastal beaches and consequently all populations of sea turtles in the short, medium and long term. Models of expected beach inundation and loss of nesting habitat due to sea-level rises are required to assess coastal changes and the conservation of the sea-turtle nesting areas. Colola Beach in Michocán, Mexico, is the main nesting area of the black sea-turtle (Chelonia mydas agassizii), also referred as Eastern Pacific green turtle, a species listed as being in danger of extinction. We assessed the effects of sea-level change in this beach using three different scenarios. With this purpose, we surveyed the topography of Colola Beach in detail to produce a digital elevation model (DEM) and modeled beach inundation expected to accompany sea-level rises of 0.5 m, 1.40 m and 5 m; recorded sea-turtle nesting sites and areas using global positioning systems (GPS), and finally modeled using geographic information systems (GIS), satellite images and a digital elevation model. The produced models suggest that rises of 0.5 m or 1.40 m would affect the Colola beach area by reducing it. Most significantly, a sea-level rise of 5 m would have a dramatic effect, with the loss of 54% of the beach and nesting area. This approach and predicted scenarios through detailed topographic survey and GIS modeling should assist in creating strategies for the conservation of the sea turtle populations in this beach reserve and elsewhere.

Palabras llave : Climate change; sea-level rise; beach inundation; GIS modeling; sea turtle; Cheloniamydas agassizii.

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