Science Express: Tuatara and Climate Change 

Thu 4 Sep 20146.30pm– 8pm
Level 4 Espresso
Free entry

Hotter temperatures are tipping the sex ratio of tuatara towards males. Dr Nicky Nelson talks about a revealing study of tuatara on North Brother Island, Cook Strait.

Research findings

The sex of tuatara is dependent on the temperature, with males hatching at warmer temperatures.

Dr Nicky Nelson and her team’s case study of a natural population of tuatara on North Brother Island in the Cook Strait of New Zealand shows that, as a result of warmer temperatures, there is an accelerating decline in the proportion of adult female tuatara in the population.

Dr Nelson says that understanding the mechanisms underlying population declines is critical in preventing the extinction of endangered populations.

Dr Nicky Nelson

Dr Nicky Nelson is an Associate Professor at the Allan Wilson Centre, Victoria University. She has been working with tuatara since 1990, and has conducted many translocations of tuatara for island restoration. Dr Nelson became interested in studying tuatara through her amazing experiences on field trips to New Zealand’s offshore islands.