Climate change is turning turtles female, claim scientists
Up to 93% of green turtle hatchlings could be female by 2100 – as climate change causes “feminisation” of the species, new research suggests.
The sex of turtle hatchlings is determined by temperature, and at present about 52% of hatching green turtles – one of seven species of sea turtle – are female. But a study by the University of Exeter and the Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre in Portugal shows that in warmer temperatures predicted by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scenarios, 76% to 93% of hatchlings would be female.
The figures are specific to the study site in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa but researchers say they expect a similar picture globally. They say the changing gender ratio would initially lead to more females nesting, increasing the population, before a decline ‘as incubation temperatures approach lethal levels’.
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