A population of green sea turtles is turning almost entirely female due to changes in the environment, scientists have found. Temperature change in the Great Barrier Reef is causing the turtles to turn from male to female. The transformation has led scientists to be concerned about the species’ future – with just 0.2 per cent of the turtles being male in some areas.
Environment temperatures play a key role in determining the sex of green sea turtles. The proportion of female hatchlings increases when nests are in warmer sands, while cooler temperatures is known to produce more male turtles.
For more than two decades the majority of newly-hatched sea turtles have been female, marine scientists say. The ‘pivotal temperature’ that creates a 50/50 split of male and female can be passed down from parent to offspring.