Yesenia Olvera, Sea Turtle Monitor for Marco Island, confirmed that we’ve had several successful sea turtle hatchings, and we have several more scheduled for this week. She is appealing to condos and hotels to please “Stay Dark” to prevent hatchling disorientation.
According to sea turtle science, 87.8° Fahrenheit favors female hatchlings while sea turtle temperatures in the 81.86-degree range Fahrenheit produces male hatchlings. Sea turtle experts believe that the temperature of the sand determines the genders of baby sea turtles. This is referred to as “Temperature-Dependent Sex Determination” or TSD, and it governs the genders of other reptiles including alligators and crocodiles.
It is hot as Hades out there! Southwest Florida has been experiencing record heat since February and March, and according to the National Weather Service, it is likely to continue. For May, the average temperature was 87.8 degrees Fahrenheit. For June, the average temperature was 90 degrees Fahrenheit. For July, the Weather Service predicted an average temperature of 91.9 degrees Fahrenheit.
Temperatures that fluctuate between the two extremes will produce a mix of male and female baby turtles. Researchers have also noted that the warmer the sand, the higher the ratio of female turtles.
Weather experts suggest that due to climate change—warming trends may be causing a higher ratio of female sea turtles potentially affecting genetic diversity.
According to recent research done at the Florida Atlantic University, Professor of Biological Sciences Jeanette Wyneken reported that for more than a dozen years now, the vast majority of sea turtles born on Florida beaches have been females.
According to Wyneken, from 2015 through 2017, not a single male loggerhead sea turtle hatchling was found at test beaches on the State’s Atlantic and Gulf coasts.
For Collier County, it is difficult to say whether our beaches including Marco Island is part of that trend; since hatchlings aren’t checked for gender.
Sea turtle experts predict that as the Earth gets hotter, turtle hatchlings worldwide are expected to skew females. Foresee more “mate-less” females with fewer males around.
|Sea Turtle Activity Update June 30 – July 6, 2020|
|Total Nests||Total False Crawls||Total Hatched Nests|
|This Year||Last Year||This Year||Last Year||This Year||Last Year||Disoriented|
|City of Naples||199||190||149||144||1||7||0|
|Sea Oat & Coconut Island||10||20||3||13||0||0||0|
|Kice & Cape Romano||112||95||149||66||1||1||0|
|Collier County Totals||1317||1475||1764||1738||16||38||0|