We aren’t the only ones suffering in these hot temps lately. In fact, leatherback sea turtles seem to be suffering the most as the thermometer rises with each passing week. University researchers have found that the huge climatic changes are posing great dangers to these endangered species, whose breeding grounds continue to be disrupted.
Imagine lying on the beach in the scorching heat without a means of cooling off. No ocean, no rain and no pina colada in hand. Although nothing seems more miserable, sea turtle eggs must bare the heat and attempt to survive on these sandy beaches.
To test the effects of extreme heat on the eggs, scientists used a climate-forced population dynamics model. This method allowed them to see what would happen if temperatures continue to rise as they have been doing. The results revealed that warmer, drier beach conditions led to higher mortality rates among eggs and hatchlings. This was also the most significant cause of the population decline due to the fact that temperatures beneath the sand make it more difficult for the eggs to hatch and survive.
The research indicated that the male hatchlings emerged during cooler weather, which threw off the turtles’ sex ratio as well. By the year 2100, the Pacific population of leatherback turtles will decrease by 75 percent if things keep going the way that they are.
According to professors in the College of Arts and Science at Drexel University, the turtles need a great deal of assistance in order to recover successfully. They plan to manipulate the beach and keep careful observation on the hatchlings. Some methods they plan to incorporate include watering and shading turtle nests that are found on dry, hot beach spots.
– The Alternative Daily