Oceans Warmed By Climate Change Are Causing More Female Sea Turtles To Be Born

Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

A curious consequence of warmer seas, as a result of climate change, is that fewer male turtles are being born.

In some turtle colonies, the hatchlings are more than 90% female, according to an international study reported in the journal Nature Climate Change.

However, the radical feminisation of the turtle population is not imminent.

Rising temperatures increase the number of breeding females and hence the natural rate of population growth.

The scientists studied the Cape Verde Islands rookeries in the Atlantic and found that the colour of the sand on the beaches made a difference to sex ratios.

“We estimate that light-coloured beaches currently produce 70.10% females whereas dark-coloured beaches produce 93.46% females,” they say in the journal article, “Effects of rising temperature on the viability of an important sea turtle rookery”.

“Rising temperatures increase the number of breeding females and hence the natural rate of population growth.

“Predicting climate warming impacts across hatchlings, male–female breeding ratios and nesting numbers provides a holistic approach to assessing the conservation concerns for sea turtles in a warming world.”

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