Tag Archives: turtle

Female Turtles Are Outnumbering Males Because of Rising Temperatures

Climate change is affecting sea turtles in an unusual way: sex. The sex of hatchlings, that is.

According to a study by Florida State University, rising global temperatures are causing a gender imbalance. Scientists researched Brazilian loggerhead turtles and found that the warmer temperatures cause higher incubating temperatures, which leads to more female hatchlings.

Optimal hatching temperatures are between 75.2 to 93.2 degrees Fahrenheit, but temperatures below 85.1 degrees results in more male turtles and temperatures above yield more females.

Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region / CC BY 2.0
Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region / CC BY 2.0

Assistant Professor of Oceanography at Florida State University Mariana Fuentes said:

“We’re concerned we’re going to have a feminization of marine turtles. This study came from the need to understand the current sex ratio being produced at loggerhead nesting grounds to establish baseline parameters as climate change progresses and to identify beaches that produce a higher proportion of males.”

Researchers believe projected increases in temperature will cause gender imbalance in marine turtle populations to worsen. Fuente and her team will move forward trying to identify the best practices to protect the turtles. They will coordinate with government officials and conservationists in Brazil to create conservation plans, working to make sure this imbalance does not negatively impact the species.

Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region / CC BY 2.0
Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region / CC BY 2.0

 
 
Featured image by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region / CC BY 2.0

Advertisements

Record Numbers of Endangered Green Sea Turtles Return to Florida to Nest

All seven species of sea turtles are at risk of extinction. But there is hope for one sub-population in Florida.

In 2015, researchers counted 14,152 turtle nests in the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, the principal green sea turtle nesting habitat in North America. This number broke the previous record of just under 13,000 in 2013 and completely shattered past yearly totals, ranging from slightly below 200 in 2001 to slightly over 6,000 in 2011.

Executive director of the Sea Turtle Conservancy David Godfrey says:

“From any spot on the beach during the peak of nesting, we might just within eyesight see see maybe 10 turtles. And imagine, all these turtles are approaching 300 pounds each…That’s a phenomenon we have not seen before in Florida.”

Photo by Florida Fish and Wildlife / CC BY-ND 2.0
Photo by Florida Fish and Wildlife / CC BY-ND 2.0

Green sea turtles lay between 75 and 200 eggs per nest, so this past season may have produced as many as 3 million babies. However, because of all the threats they face, such as hungry gulls and fishing nets, only a fraction of these nestlings will likely survive to maturity.

Fortunately, this should still be enough for future viable nesting seasons. In fact, the 2015 turnout was so significant that the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is preparing to downgrade the turtle’s conservation status on the federal list from “endangered” to “threatened.”

Photo by Keenan Adams, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region / CC BY 2.0
Photo by Keenan Adams, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region / CC BY 2.0

The Archie Carr refuge was established in 1990 and since then, the green sea turtle nesting numbers have steadily risen. Lending to this increase are the efforts of conservationists, government officials and residents to reduce pollution and other human effects.

Godfrey says:

“We’re really seeing the fruits of all that work now with the exponential growth in green turtle nesting. That is what it takes with sea turtles in particular, because they grow so slowly. Those hatchlings from 30 years ago are reaching adulthood and coming back.”

 
 
Featured image by Keenan Adams, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region / CC BY 2.0

What the Reef Looks Like Through the Eyes of a Turtle [VIDEO]

Ever wonder what it would be like to be an animal swimming in the Great Barrier Reef? Now you can find out, thanks to a helpful turtle and a GoPro. See what the reef looks like through the eyes of one of its very own inhabitants.

Sea Turtle in the Red Sea

Photo by Frank_am_Main / CC BY-SA 2.0

Sea Turtle in the Red Sea