Mariana Fuentes has started a new project in collaboration with Fundação Pró-Tamar to explore the spatio-temporal variability of hawksbill and loggerhead turtle hatchling sex ratio in Brazil. Marine turtles have temperature-dependent sex determination, where their sex ratio is determined by the nest temperature. Projected increases in temperature may skew sea turtle population′s sex ratios towards predominantly females.

In the context of global warming and predicted skew in marine turtle population sex ratios it is important to have knowledge of the current and future sex ratio of hatchlings being produced by marine turtle populations. This information is critical to provide a baseline in advance of global warming, to elucidate implications from future extreme female sex biases and to help identify areas that produce a higher proportion of male hatchlings, which will be essential to inform conservation in the context of extreme female sex biases.  However, usually there is a lack of wide-scale, long-term information on primary sex ratios as a baseline to infer changes from global warming and to identify nesting areas of high conservation value.

To obtain this information, Mariana deployed 60 temperature dataloggers along the whole extent of nesting areas and environments used by hawksbill and loggerhead turtles in Brazil. Thermal profile will be monitored over three years and will be used to estimate the current sex ratio being produced at each location. This will be coupled with climate models to predict future sex ratio and to help prioritize management in light of global warming.  More information about this project will be presented on Thursday the 14th November (12:00 to 13:00) at the Centre’s weekly seminar series. The seminar will take place at building 19 (Kevin Stark Research Building), Room #106 (upstairs), JCU, Townsville; video-linked to the University of Queensland (GCI Boardroom, Level 7, Gehrmann Building 60).

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