Scientists In Queensland’s Far North Are Cooling Sea Turtle Nests To Save Them

Source: Phys.org/University of Queensland

Photo: Hanjoung Choi/Unsplash

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A trial of ways to cool turtle nests is underway in Queensland’s Far North as global warming threatens turtle populations throughout the tropics.

Researchers from The University of Queensland and WWF Australia are testing techniques including cooling a small number of nests nightly with sea water, and shading others with structures made from palm fronds.

UQ researcher Melissa Staines said the project was prompted by research indicating that more than 99 per cent of juvenile  in the feeding grounds of the northern Great Barrier Reef stock were female.

“The science is saying that hotter sand, linked to climate change, is to blame and this is causing concern for the future of that population,” she said.

“In the Far North,  temperatures above 29.1 degrees Celsius generate mostly females, while sand temperatures above 34 degrees Celsius are fatal.”

Data loggers buried in the trial nests will indicate whether temperatures were kept cool enough to produce a healthy ratio of males and will be compared to a control nest left in full sun.

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Photo: Hanjoung Choi/Unsplash

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