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Global warming could make male sea turtles disappear

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One of the quirks of sea turtles, along with many other reptiles, is that temperature determines the sex of their offspring. At around 84.2 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Celsius) the ratio of males to females is fairly even, but as temperature rises, more and more hatchlings end up as females. Researchers from Swansea University in Wales calculated how that will change for one major population of sea turtles as the globe warms over the next century, and while they found that it would mean a growing population at first, eventually there will be too few males around.

Their research, which is being published today in Nature Climate Change, was focused on a population of loggerhead turtles in Sal, Cape Verde, an island to the west of Northern Africa. For the past 150 years, the temperature there has put the number of female hatchlings laid on light-sand beaches between roughly 50 and 70 percent of those born. Right now, the population of Sal is beginning to see a distinct uptick in the number of females, and the researchers believe that will steadily increase to around 80 percent of hatchlings on light-sand beaches in 2050 to about 98 percent by 2100.
via The Verge

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Image: Wollertz / Shutterstock

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