99% of These Sea Turtles Are Turning Female

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Conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the United States along with Australian scientists from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, the study found that male green turtles were rapidly declining for around two decades, reports Xinhua news agency.

The sex of green turtles is influenced by temperatures during their incubation period - the proportion of female hatchlings increases when nests are in warmer sands while cooler temperatures produce more male hatchlings.

Lead author Dr. Michael Jensen, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), said northern GBR green turtle rookeries have been producing primarily females for more than two decades resulting in "extreme female bias". The research was published on Monday. If the temperature drops a few degrees below that mark, all the sea turtles are born male.

Researchers said climate change poses a "serious threat" to animals, whose sex depends on the temperature at which the egg has been incubated. As per the new study, the green sea turtles are now becoming female due to rise in temperature.

Average temperatures on the Great Barrier Reef have far exceeded that pivotal temperature, according to Allen.

A new study reveals increasing temperatures are turning green turtle populations nearly completely female in the northern Great Barrier Reef (GBR).


The gender breakdown of the turtles varied across the reef, with the southern population 65%-69 per cent female, while among the northern group 99.1 per cent of juveniles are female, 99.8 per cent of subadults and 86.8 per cent of adults.

On the northern end of the Great Barrier Reef, more than 99 percent of juvenile and young adult turtles are female. The results also raise new questions about the risks for marine turtles worldwide, as well as other temperature-dependent species including alligators and iguanas.

"This research is so important because it provides a new understanding of what these populations are dealing with", he said. He informed that the current situation is really alarming.

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

The climate is changing, and so are the turtles. Dermot O'Gorman, the Chief Executive of WWF Australia, stated that first the coral bleaching and now the rising temperature has severely affected the marine animals.

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