Thursday, November 26, 2020

Hatchlings Are Emerging!

Sea Turtle Weekly Update

Photos by Maria Lamb | Sea Turtle Monitor Yesenia Olvera is checking a nest and is digging deep to locate the nest cavity to see how far down the eggs are.


On July 4th, Sea Turtle Nest #3 was dug up three days after hatching. Yesi Olvera discovered live hatchlings still in the nest. These hatchlings were recovered and released July 4th after sunset close to the nest.

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 changewarming 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 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 Countyit is difficult to say whether our beaches including Marco Island is part of that trendsince 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
Barefoot  167 225 217 287 3 7 0
Delnor Wiggins 27 49 62 52 0 5 0
Vanderbilt   189 167 159 141 3 2 0
Parkshore  121 186 137 138 4 9 0
City of Naples  199 190 149 144 1 7 0
Keewaydin Island 322 375 576 612 2 2 0
Sea Oat & Coconut Island 10 20 3 13 0 0 0
Marco Island 78 74 144 166 2 3 0
Kice & Cape Romano 112 95 149 66 1 1 0
10,000 Islands 92 94 168 119 0 2 0
Collier County Totals 1317 1475 1764 1738 16 38 0

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