Climate Change Skews Ratio of Female to Male Sea Turtle Hatchlings

New research finds Loggerhead Sea Turtle populations are becoming female-dominant as rising temperatures skew temperate sex determination.

The Loggerhead Sea Turtles of Cape Verde have undergone an unnatural phenomenon in recent years—an increasing majority of hatchlings are female. Dr. Lucy Hawkes, an ecologist at the University of Exeter has recently published a paper which found that, “eighty-four percent of current hatchlings are female and warmer temperatures will increase this proportion.”

A Sea Turtle hatchling nears the water. Credit: Island Conservation

This is a worrisome trend because a disproportionate ratio of males to females means less reproduction, which can very quickly lead to the death of a species. Considering that Cape Verde hosts 15% of the Earth’s nesting population of Loggerhead Sea Turtles, this could have a disastrous effect on the global population and surrounding environment.

As the earth gets hotter, turtle hatchlings worldwide are expected to skew dangerously female, scientists predict, making the animals an unwitting gauge for the warming climate.”

Danielle Paquette, Washington Post

How to does climate change impact sex determination in sea turtles?

In most species, the sex of the offspring is decided by the process of genotypic sex determination where the information contained in the sex chromosomes of the parents determines the embryo sex. However, in some species of reptiles produce male and female hatchlings through a form of environmental sex determination called temperature dependent sex determination where temperatures within the nest—specifically the incubation temperature of the eggs—influence sex differentiation.

Baby Green Sea Turtles swimming. Credit: Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, sea turtles have been observed to produce male hatchlings if the eggs are incubated below 81.6 degrees Fahrenheit and female hatchlings above 87.8 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures in between these extremities will produce a mix of male and female baby turtles.

It is not clear how long it will take the population to decline if males stop being produced, as the reproductive lifespan of males is not known – so older males may continue breeding for many years after new males stop being hatched,” explained Hawkes.

Researchers have noticed this trend with sea turtle populations all over the world. Populations in Florida, Australia and Southern California are also showing dramatic sex imbalances, with their turtle populations skewing female by 90%, 99% and 78% respectively. If these trends continue, researchers predict that fewer than 1% of sea turtles born will be male by the end of the century. If global warming continues to escalate, higher temperatures could wipe out the entire species.

Sea Turtles play important roles in both marine and terrestrial ecosystems, making conservation and population preservation vital for global biodiversity. There are seven species of sea turtles, all of which are considered threatened to some extent by various factors including climate change, predation by invasive species, pollution, and unsustainable fishing practices.

The Washington Post
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
University of Exeter

Featured Image: Sea Turtle hatchlings scurry across the sand after release. Credit: Mahinda Rajapaksa

About Nicholas Scott

Nick is an undergraduate Marine Biology student at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Having spent his life exploring the ocean on California’s coast, he developed a passion and respect for it, that demanded him to pursue his interest in conservation. Volunteering for the communications team allows him to further his interests and gain more insight as to how to resolve the state of the world around us. In his spare time, Nick enjoys surfing, swimming, and spending time with friends.

View All Posts

Follow Island Conservation on Social Media

[ism-social-followers list='fb,tw,li,youtube,instagram' template='ism_template_sf_1' list_align='horizontal' display_counts='false' display_full_name='true' box_align='center' ]

[ism-social-followers list='fb,tw,li,youtube,instagram' template='ism_template_sf_1' list_align='horizontal' display_counts='false' display_full_name='true' box_align='center' ]

Midway Atoll conservation




%d bloggers like this:

good weight loss pills for women what is the best weight loss diet for dogs webmd best weight loss pills new weight loss drug on the market diet pill to lose weight fast mono diet weight loss rate marathon keto diet pills carbs diet to lose weight best diet pills to lose weight 2020 aids weight loss pills health supplements for weight loss how does diet help in weight loss keto fat burning pills reviews keto diet good or bad for weight loss best diet to lose weight with hypothyroidism meatless diet for weight loss 3 weeks what pills did kim kardashian take to lose weight fast weight loss 1500 calorie diet for men how quick do you lose weight on keto diet 10 day rapid weight loss diet pcos diets for weight loss weight loss pills for jockeys when to take supplements for weight loss alcohol diet for weight loss jtm weight loss pills directions blood type b positive diet lose weight weight loss pills thyroid patients ketogenic diet weight loss vegetarian birth control pills affect if weight loss liquid diet plan for weight loss burn it weight loss pills wholesale weight loss supplement water retention pills for weight loss number one weight loss pills anxiety pills cause weight loss weight loss supplements for breastfeeding mothers weight loss is what percent diet daily weight loss diet chart weight loss agents liquid diet weight loss and inch loss diet chart for female 2000 calories weight loss diet quick weight loss tablet whey protein diet for weight loss do water pills help you lose weight weight loss diet for woman has diebetes weight loss pills that wont kill you weight loss diet plan for men complete meal plan will weight loss pills break your fac is a keto diet a good diet for weight loss cinnamon pills help you lose weight my weight loss has slowed on the keto diet weight loss diet for teenage girls lose weight prescription pills effective weight loss diet plan

malextra pills male enhancer cup real penis enlarger youngevity sex boost supplement best male enhancement to increase size pills that keep your dick hard activatrol male enhancement reviews vitamins for male fertility enhancement redlips male enhancement reviews edge 8 male enhancement pills aniseed male enhancement penis enlarge pills exstacy male enhancement near me do sexual enhancement pills work penis enlargement strap male enhancement pic health supplements limitless male enhancement pills honey pills penis enlagerment pills the pill after sex v8 pills review sex pills for men at walmart rlx male enhancement formula cheap viagra pills online rest time for penis enlargement zymox plus male enhancement zyflex male enhancement reviews web md top male enhancement suuplements taking sex pills for work king supplement erectile dysfuction drugs false positive drug test male enhancement growing pills male enhancer wear is there pills for man sex do penis enlargement supplements work testmax male enhancement pills penis enlargement tumbler pills online penis enlargement surgery boston erection pills 711 does penis enlargement dug causes std what are the side effects of extenze pills chinese tea for penis enlargement best potency pills sleep pills destory sex drive longs drugs walgreens supplement for sex hormonal supplements happy hippo sex pills for men buy online magnesium supplements and ed sex help when with drawing from pain pills the free red pill male enhancement

cbd inflammation wholesale cbd oil prices best cbd tincture escape room melbourne cbd cbd new orleans absolute nature cbd how is cbd made best type of cbd oil for anxiety taking cbd oil during chemotherapy cbd increases testosterone cbd doctors in florida fiori cbd ingesting cbd oil emerchantbroker cbd oil best cbd oil for glaucoma cbd oil colorado springs cbd oil for high functioning autism jeffs cbd oil cbd oil like viagra cbd oil in brooklyn health nut news cbd oil does cbd work for depression pre 98 bubba kush cbd cbd gummies for sale near me cbd gives me headaches cbd honey sticks infinitys end cbd oil cbd hemp oil price meriton brisbane cbd high cbd low thc tincture cbd bubble gum cbd for scoliosis cbd gives me a headache cbd x pen cbd sperm what cbd should i get using cbd at work pure cbd oil 600mg cbd 85308 cbd tennessee 3 cbds of london cbd bank account cbd hemp oil multiple sclerosis cbd real estate kalki cbd oil cbd topical benefits sublingual cbd tincture or oil buspar and cbd reveiew of pure cbd oil iris cbd oil cbd thc oil texas recreational cbd oil amazon lazarus cbd oil dreem cbd oil