Australia's green turtle may become extinct, say report
10 January, 2018, 00:44 | Author: Bridget Leonard
It's also spelling trouble for the more than 200,000 green sea turtles which make the area home, one of the world's largest populations.
The so-called pivotal temperature, which produces a 50/50 gender split, can be passed down from parent to offspring, but the range which would result in all-male or all-female varies by only a few degrees, scientists said.
The sex of sea turtle hatchlings is determined by the incubation temperature of the eggs laid in the sand - with the proportion of females rising as temperatures increase.
"Finding that there are next to no males among young northern green turtles should ring alarm bells, but all is not lost for this important population".
The researchers stated that the green sea turtles in northern Great Barrier Reef are producing more females since many years.
Sea turtles from warmer northern beaches leaned even more heavily female, with 86.8 per cent of adult turtles, 99.8 per cent of sub-adult turtles, and 99.1 per cent of juvenile turtles turning out to be female. The research includes the study of two genetically different population of turtles on the reef.
Environment temperatures play a key role in determining the sex of green turtles.
"Knowing what the sex ratios in the adult breeding population are today and what they might look like 5, 10 and 20 years from now when these young turtles grow up and become adults is going to be incredibly valuable".
Green sea turtles are considered endangered throughout much of the world, under siege from coastal debris, loss of habitat, fishing nets, and pollution, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
"Australia must adopt ambitious climate change targets that will save the Reef and its unique creatures". It affects the temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD).
After collecting 411 for analysis and release, they found a "moderate female sex bias" in turtles from beaches in the cooler, southern Great Barrier Reef, where about 65-69 percent were female.
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