Climate change Great Barrier Reef Turtles all women


The northern Great Barrier Reef, the site of the overwhelming female population, has one of the largest populations of green sea turtles in the world, the study said. As per the new study, the green sea turtles are now becoming female due to rise in temperature.

Climate change is being blamed since the sex of the sea turtle is determined by the heat of the sand where they lay their eggs.

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

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in partnership with Australian researchers studied hundreds of turtles and found that 99% of turtle hatchlings from warmer beaches in the northern GBR are now female.

A shift of just a few degrees can have big impacts on sex outcomes in sea turtles.

Overall, 86.8 percent of adult-sized turtles in the entire area were female.

Researchers collected 411 turtles from the southern barrier reef, where waters are cooler, as well as from the warmer northern reef to determine how the population was affected by temperature changes. The results also raise new questions about the risks for marine turtles worldwide, as well as other temperature-dependent species including alligators and iguanas.

They say the artificial rain is going to cool the sand and shift the sex ratio towards an increase in males.

"Our study highlights the need for immediate management strategies aimed at lowering incubation temperatures at key rookeries to boost the ability of local turtle populations to adapt to the changing environment and avoid a population collapse - or even extinction".

Warming temperatures are turning one of the world's largest sea turtle populations in Australia's Great Barrier Reef nearly entirely female, running the risk that the colony may not sustain itself in coming decades, a study has found. Sand temperatures determine the sex of turtle hatchlings, with warmer temperatures resulting in more females. While there was a moderate female sex bias of 65%-69% in turtles originating from the cooler nesting beaches in the south, turtles originating from warmer northern beaches were extremely female-biased. "We know that species evolve in response to climate and other environmental changes, but they need time for that".

Green sea turtles are considered endangered throughout much of the world, under siege from coastal debris, loss of habitat, fishing nets, and pollution, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.