Понедельник, 28 Мая, 2018

Most sea turtles now female in northern Great Barrier Reef

A green sea turtle on the Great Barrier A green sea turtle on the Great Barrier
Velma Reese | 09 Января, 2018, 14:37

Nearly the entire green turtle population in parts of the northern Great Barrier Reef is now female, and scientists are concerned about their future.

Published this week in the journal Current Biology, the report said: "With average global temperature predicted to increase 4.7 Fahrenheit (2.6 Celsius) by 2100, many sea turtle populations are in danger of high egg mortality and female-only offspring production". Turtles from the cooler southern GBR nesting beaches showed a more moderate female sex bias (65 to 69 percent female). On warmer northern nesting beaches, researchers noted 99.1 percent of juveniles, 99.8 percent of subadults, and 86.8 percent of adults were female. However, over the last few years, the drastic increase in temperatures due to global warming, has led to a major imbalance in the sex ratio of sea turtles.

"This research is so important because it provides a new understanding of what these populations are dealing with", said lead author Michael Jensen from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Increasing temperatures in Queensland's north, linked to climate change, are being blamed because the incubation temperature of eggs determines the sex of turtles with a warmer nest resulting in more females.

Some sea turtle populations have been so skewed by global warming that the young reptiles are nearly entirely female, according to a report in the journal Current Biology.

"But for this population we were quite surprised to find this result, because this is one of the largest sea turtle populations in the world and we would expect them to be doing very well".

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Green sea turtles native to the Great Barrier Reef are under threat from rising temperatures, which are making the majority of hatchlings female, according to a team of biologists.

Dermot O'Gorman, CEO of the World Wildlife Fund Australia, which helped facilitate the field study, said the Great Barrier Reef is "at the frontline of climate change".

There are two genetically distinct populations of green turtles on the reef. A few degrees below, all the turtles are male.

Both marine biological researcher Ms Allen and Mr Limpus said they were optimistic that the turtles might adapt to the warmer temperatures.

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