Increasing temperature could threatens Sea turtles

University of Queensland Marine researchers (Australia) have found that the increased temperatures could threaten sea turtles by decreasing their swimming ability and the number of males.

Nest temperature determines the sex of sea turtles: "“If it's a relatively cool nest eggs turn out to be males and if it's a relatively warm nest they turn out to be females.” Dr Booth from the UQ's School of Biological Science said. Increasing temperatures will thus lead to an increasing number of females the species would be further threatened if there are not enough males to fertilise the females.

The second impact of a warmer climate on sea turtles hatchling would be a decrease of their swimming ability, which would impact hatchling survival rate as the predation rate directly depends on their swimming ability. “The 2008-2009 green turtle nesting season on Heron Island has seen the highest nest temperatures recorded at this site" said Dr Booth. “Initial impressions are that hatchlings emerging from these hot nests are not as strong swimmers as hatchlings coming from cooler nests recorded in previous years."

Sea turtles have been able to shift their location of nesting sites according to temperature changes. "However, these changes have been done over tens thousands of years not in tens of years, which will have to happen now."