Green Sea Turtles and Feminisation

I know what you’re thinking, with all this talk in society about feminism (important movement btw) you’re wondering how this works in with turtles? Well it doesn’t. But the fact that most green sea turtles are being hatched female is a great concern.

A recent study was done by Jensen et al., (2018) has shown that 99.1% of green sea turtles being hatched in the northern region of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) are female. As turtles are reptiles, they depend on temperature to determine the sex of their hatchlings. Anything above 29.5 degrees Celsius and it’s female, below that and it’s male (Jensen et al., 2018). 

Although it’s pretty common for this species to nest their eggs in warmer parts of the season in the sand (Jensen et al., 2018), having almost 100% female hatchlings is concerning don’t you think?

Taking a look on the Southern end of the GBR, there was still a female bias at 65-69% of the population. So even though the southern end still doesn’t look quite as alarming we can’t just discern ourselves from it.

The article is a pretty good read and I’ll have it linked below but for those who can’t be bothered to read it (don’t worry I totally understand, science lingo gets hard) here are some relevant points from it;

  • The GBR is home to the largest sea turtle population with over 200,000 nesting females
  • Polygyny (multiple partners) in males is known but can not be determined how frequent or how many partners
  • Sea turtles are sensitive to changing temperatures and hence climate change
  • Increased temperature can increase hatchling mortality
  • Female bias is stronger in juveniles and young adults 
  • Suggestions to lower incubation temperatures for these populations

I know not everyone believes in climate change but when figures like this get presented, it’s kinda hard not to. So I hope whoever reads this walks away from this post a little wiser and more motivated to help our planet.

~ Madii x

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