This unique biological trait of these creatures is what that has jeopardised their future in an increasingly warmer world as rising temperatures due to climate change are turning one of the world's largest sea turtle colonies nearly entirely female, a new study revealed.
Most green sea turtles monitored in the area by scientists have been female for more than two decades. Majority of sea turtles from warmer northern beaches, on the other hand, were female, with 86.8 percent of adult turtles, 99.8 percent of sub-adult turtles and 99.1 percent of juvenile turtles turning out to be female.
The sex of green turtles is influenced by temperatures during their incubation period and a difference of just a few degrees in the temperature of nests - which are dug into beaches - can result in a population that is 100% male or female.
According to the paper, climate change could affect the green sea turtle's gender.
Climate change is being blamed, since the sex of a sea turtle is determined by the heat of the sand where they lay their eggs.
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"Any variation on that of about one to two degrees, could risk producing all females or perhaps embryonic death". Turtles from the cooler southern GBR nesting beaches showed a more moderate female sex bias (65 to 69 percent female). The reader's can rely on the content at their own will. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability, data, text, images, video, messages, or any other material whatsoever or for any claims/loss/action that the reader may suffer as a result of relying on the content on our site. Among the subadult population, the male proportion was a shocking 0.2 percent, suggesting things have gotten much worse as the world has warmed. Scientists who are behind the research are from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), California State University, and the Worldwide Fund for Nature Australia.
"This research is so important because it provides a new understanding of what these populations are dealing with", said Dr. Jensen.
They say the artificial rain is going to cool the sand and shift the sex ratio towards an increase in males.
The climate is changing, and so are the turtles.
Green sea turtles are already considered endangered, with the latest findings posing a dire new threat to the future of the species. 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.