Rising temperatures turning green sea turtles female in Great Barrier Reef

  • Rising temperatures turning green sea turtles female in Great Barrier Reef

Rising temperatures turning green sea turtles female in Great Barrier Reef

The trend of producing more females in warm areas has been ongoing for more than two decades, according to lead author Michael Jensen, from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Cooler temperatures mean more males, while warmer ones mean more females.

The research warned: 'With warming global temperatures and most sea turtle populations naturally producing offspring above the pivotal temperature, it is clear that climate change poses a serious threat to the persistence of these populations'.

Climate change is turning the green turtle population in parts of the Great Barrier Reef nearly entirely female, experts have discovered. A couple of degrees below and you get mostly males; a couple of degrees higher and you get mostly females.

A turtle's sex is dependent on the temperature at which it is incubated, so warmer nests result in more females. A few days ago, a report was published by some researchers stating that global warming is now greatly affecting the coral reefs and they have come to the stage of extinction. The species is already considered endangered throughout much of the world.

"While rising temperatures may initially result in increased female population sizes, the lack of male turtles will eventually impact the overall fertility of females in the population".

The analysis revealed that green sea turtles from cooler southern nesting beaches were about 65 to 69 percent female. The rising rate of female level can threaten the population of green sea turtle.

"Furthermore, extreme incubation temperatures not only produce female-only hatchlings but also cause high mortality of developing clutches", the study said. Only some duration of cooler years can control the situation.

"Knowing what the sex ratios in the adult breeding population are today and what they might look like 5, 10 and 20 years from now when these young turtles grow up and become adults is going to be incredibly valuable".

"Climate change affects species and ecosystems around the globe", researchers note.


World Wildlife Fund Australia head Dermot O'Gorman told the Guardian Australia that environmental change was taking a quiet toll on creatures. On the other hand, the scientists are taking important steps like trialing the use of shade cloth in nesting beaches which will lower the sand temperature, and trying to reduce bycatch in the fishing industry, stated O'Gorman.