Almost all the Great Barrier Reef sea turtles re female now

Two-year-old Green Sea Turtle "Sea Biscuit" with her front left flipper missing, swims in a tropical reef aquarium at Oceanworld Manly, north of Sydney on May 20, 2011. Sea Biscuit who was rescued by Oceanworld staff in 2009 and was so badly injured when washed ashore that she lost her front left flipper, has been handraised by senior aquarist Marina Tsamoulos and has learnt to dive and swim with her remaining three flippers. World Turtle Day will be celebrated on May 23. AFP PHOTO / Greg WOOD (Photo credit should read GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images)

A population of green sea turtles is turning almost entirely female due to changes in the environment, temperature changes at the Great Barrier Reef made male turtles change their sex. The transformation has led scientists to be concerned about the species’ future as there are only 0.2% of turtles who remained male, and it makes turtles unable to reproduce. The proportion of female hatchlings increases when nests are in warmer sands, while cooler temperatures are more comfortable for males. The ‘pivotal temperature’ that creates a 50/50 split of male and female can be passed down from parent to offspring. Genetic and hormone analysis of the turtles in the northern and southern parts of the Great Barrier Reef showed 99 percent of young sea turtles nesting on warmer northern beaches were female.


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