Animals and Insects

Climate Change Is Impacting The Gender Outcome Of Sea Turtles

As temperatures rise, the sand is hotter than normal, which is causing turtle eggs in Florida to only hatch as females.

Climate Change Is Impacting The Gender Outcome Of Sea Turtles
Lynne Sladky / AP
SMS

The extreme heat in Florida is causing a crisis in the sea turtle population.  

Unlike humans, sea turtles do not have chromosomes. When the female turtle deposits her eggs in the sand, the embryo is not sexed. The temperature of the sand determines the gender of a sea turtle.

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Research from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows turtle eggs incubated below 82 degrees Fahrenheit are hatched as males. If turtle eggs incubate about 89 degrees Fahrenheit they will hatch as females.

In the past four years, virtually every turtle on the Florida beaches has been born female. As temperatures rise, the sand is hotter than normal, which is causing turtle eggs to incubate above 89 degrees Fahrenheit.