Only female sea turtles have hatched on Florida beaches for the past four years. Male cards are not born due to heat waves caused by climate change. As a result, scientists are worried about population decline and genetic problems. The US agency NOAA, dedicated to researching the atmosphere and oceans, reported on the situation.
More Female Baby Turtles
The sea turtles’ sex is affected by the temperature of the sand in which the female lays her eggs. If turtle eggs hatch at temperatures below 27 degrees Celsius, the result is male hatchlings. But if they hatch at a temperature higher than 31 degrees, females are born.
The ratio of males to females used to be balanced because temperatures fluctuated regularly. “As Earth’s climate changes, increased temperatures could result in distorted and even lethal incubation conditions, impacting a variety of species of turtles and other reptiles,” NOAA said.
Heat Might Lead to Population Decline
The last four summers have been so hot that scientists who study sea turtle hatching and their eggs have not found any male sea turtles, only seen females during these periods. The unequal ratio of males to females is causing increasing concern among scientists that the sea turtle population will be dramatically affected by the decline or even become extinct due to this change.
“Over the next few years, we’re going to see a sharp decline in their population because the turtles will simply lack genetic diversity… We don’t have the ratio of males to females that are needed to be able to breed successfully,” said Melissa Rosales Rodriguez, who takes care of the sea turtles at the Miami Zoo.
The problem will arise due to the small number of males – the individuals of the new generation will be practically related. Therefore, interbreeding them can cause genetic problems that the turtles will pass on to each other.
Featured image by MatrixDiver from Pixabay