A research team led by Florida State University found that sea turtles in the U.S. will have less suitable nesting habitat in the future because of climate change and coastal development. Researchers found areas that will remain or become suitable for sea turtle nesting in the future because of climatic changes and sea-level rise will be exposed to increased coastal development, hindering the ability of turtles to adapt to these disturbances.
The most comprehensive health assessment for a green turtle rookery in the world to date is providing critical insights into various aspects of physiology, biology, and herpesvirus epidemiology of this nesting population. Findings are hopeful for this population of green sea turtles in southeastern Florida, offer important data on the profile of health for future comparative investigations, and suggest that viruses are endemically stable in this nesting population.
While uncertainty reigns for Floridians due to COVID-19, there’s one thing they can count on: sea turtles are nesting on our local beaches as nesting season heads into its fourth month this June.
Scientists have developed a new minimally invasive technique that greatly enhances the ability to measure neonate turtle sex ratios. This is the first time that differences in sex-specific protein expression patterns have been identified in blood samples of hatchlings with temperature-dependent sex determination. The technique is a crucial step in assessing the impact of climate change on imperiled turtle species and will enable more accurate estimates of hatchling sex ratios at a population level and on a global scale.
Beach closures and other COVID-19 pandemic restrictions required scientists to get creative. They teamed up with the U.S. Coast Guard to make sure that three baby green sea turtles made it home. The turtles were outfitted with small solar powered satellite transmitters. Data will provide information to help scientists preserve sea turtles’ habitats and give them a hint about the effects of warmer temperatures on their offshore behavior.
Female sea turtles mate multiply to ensure fertilization. A study of nesting loggerhead female sea turtles in southwestern Florida used genotyping to uncover how many fathers were represented in their nests. Surprisingly, scientists found that 75 percent of the female sea turtles had mated singly. No male was represented in more than one female’s clutches. Findings provide insights into the relative numbers of males present in the breeding population, which are hard to get because males never come ashore.