Great Barrier Reef: Warmer Temperature Threatens Survival of Green Sea Turtles

Are Green Sea Turtles Facing Extinction?

A world-renowned environmentalist from the University of Redlands has warned about the negative impact of the alarming increase of sea temperature on the survival of green sea turtles at the Great Barrier Reef.

Dr. Monty Hempel, the director of the environmental science department at the University of Redlands and past president of the Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences (AESS), said the rise of temperature has altered the normal reproduction of the species.

Hempel said, “A recent article about green sea turtles and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef published in Current Biology illustrates the reproductive plight of a species that is now producing mostly female hatchlings. The sex of crocodiles and most turtles is environmentally determined by the temperature of incubating eggs. That means global warming can be thought of as the ultimate sex change operation for many reptiles. Human-induced climate change is altering the sex ratios of these species to an extent that their long-term survival is at stake.”

Aside from that, global warming has caused massive coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef, thus endangering the survival of the sea turtles.

Hempel added, “Even more ominously, large parts of the coral ecosystem in which these marine turtles live are being rapidly destroyed by temperature-induced coral bleaching, with 93 percent of the reef system reportedly damaged in the latest episode. Climate disruption is affecting our world in ways that will alter our understanding of nature.”

Dr. Hempel is word-renowned environmentalist who is an expert on climate disruption and the effects of global warming.

green sea turtle.
A green sea turtle in Great Barrier Reef.

Meet The Green Sea Turtle

Green sea turtles are olive-green with brown, reddish-brown or black markings. Green sea turtles are found worldwide in tropical and temperate waters, including the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland in north-eastern Australia. Green sea turtles can live more than 80 years in the wild.

The Great Barrier Reef is an important foraging area for the green turtles nesting in the area and for turtles who feed at the reef and migrate to different regions and countries to nest. The Great Barrier Reef, covering 348,000 square km (134,000 square miles), was listed as a World Heritage site in 1981 as the most extensive and spectacular coral reef ecosystem on the planet.

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