Global warming has turned nearly all Great Barrier Reef sea turtles female

10 January, 2018, 00:41 | Author: Cecelia Webb
  • Enlarge  Sea

This unique biological trait of these creatures is what that has jeopardised their future in an increasingly warmer world as rising temperatures due to climate change are turning one of the world's largest sea turtle colonies nearly entirely female, a new study revealed.

"With average global temperature predicted to increase 4.7 Fahrenheit (2.6 Celsius) by 2100, many sea turtle populations are in danger of high egg mortality and female-only offspring production", it added.

Warming seas are turning male turtles into females, scientists have discovered.

Unfortunately, Dr Michael Jensen of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has found things are more serious for the endangered green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) of the Great Barrier Reef.

Most green sea turtles monitored in the Great Barrier Reef are female and have been for more than two decades, marine scientists found. Volunteers and with Fish and Wildlife wardens released hundreds of turtles back into the sea that had washed ashore recently, "cold stunned", far too chilled to swim, because of the massive fall in sea temperatures in some bays around the state, according to local reports. A few up or down into the temperature can affect the natural balance of this species. Warmer temperatures mean more females. Using a combination of endocrinology and genetic tests, researchers identified the turtles' sex and nesting origin. Of the older adult-sized turtles analyzed, 86.8% were female, the study said. At the southern end of the reef, 65-69 percent of turtles are female, which no doubt makes for some very happy males, and could actually improve breeding prospects compared to a 50-50 ratio in a species where some males mate with many females. The increasing rate shows that the place will have only female turtles in the near future.




The temperature at which eggs incubate determines the sex of the eggs.

"Realizing what the sex proportions in the grown-up reproducing populace are today, and what they may look like five, 10 and quite a while from now when these youthful turtles grow up and move toward becoming grown-ups, will be extraordinarily profitable".

The paper called "Ecological Warming and Feminization of One of the Largest Sea Turtle Populations in the World" was distributed in the logical diary Current Biology.

"Australia must adopt ambitious climate change targets that will save the Reef and its unique creatures".

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