- Turtle populations in the Red Sea could be turning overwhelmingly female because of a rise in sea temperatures caused due to anthropogenic climate change, a new study has showed.
- There are seven extant species worldwide, five of which can be found in the Red Sea: the green turtle, the hawksbill turtle, the loggerhead turtle, the olive ridley turtle and the leatherback turtle.
- In order to maintain a 50:50 ratio of male and female in the population, a temperature of 29.2 degrees Celsius is pivotal.
- Above this, hatchlings would be predominantly female.
- The sand temperatures at four of the sites exceeded 29.2 degrees; leading the team to the conclusion that ‘feminization’ of the population could be already happening.
Significance of Marine Turtle
- Marine turtles as all top predators have a prominent role in maintaining balanced and healthy ecosystems, in particular seagrass beds and coral reefs.
- They also help in transporting nutrients towards naturally nutrient-poor ecosystems (the nesting beaches), and providing food and transportation for other marine species (e.g., barnacles and commensal crabs).
- Marine turtles also play an important role in the economy of the tourism industry.
Source: Down to Earth
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