BEACON TRANSCRIPT – A recent study focused on how the green sea turtle population of the Great Barrier Reef is being affected by climate changes.
Researchers observed that the increasingly warmer waters caused a change in the gender of this sea turtle species. Now, this population seems to be composed mostly of females.
How the Warmer Temperatures are Affecting the Largest Green Sea Turtle Population
Unlike most mammals and humans whose gender is determined by chromosomes, the reptiles’ is determined by the temperature during the egg’s incubation.
If this is higher and the water is warmer, the offspring are usually females. When the water is colder, the babies are males. This explains why climate change is affecting the largest population of green sea turtles.
For an equal number of males and females to be born, the temperature needs to be precisely 29.3 degrees Celsius, according to researchers. Once the temperature is higher, the number of females will surpass that of males. The researcher team mentioned that this new study is shedding some light on the lesser-known effects of climate change.
“This research is so important because it provides a new understanding of what these populations are dealing with,” mentioned Michael Jensen, the lead author.
The researchers observed that, in these warmer waters, more than 90% of the green sea turtle specimens were females. In comparison, in colder areas, less than 70% of the population were girls.
Specialists pointed out that these statistics should be monitored. This is because, in the near future, this population might become female-only. In turn, this could lead to the eventual extinction of this green sea turtle species.
Researchers might look to find a way of keeping their nests cooler, which would help result in more males. The specialists who conducted the study also stated that something needs to be done to stop climate change before it endangers other animal populations as well.
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