Study tracks turtle hatchling gender

Boy or girl?

It is the first question many expectant parents have on the brain. For the hundreds of loggerhead sea turtle babies waiting to hatch on Navarre Beach, answering that question depends on the weather, specifically the temperature of the sand.

“Boys are cool. Girls are hot,” Cathy Holmes of the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center (NBSTCC) said. “The warmer the sand, the more females are produced.”

The NBSTCC joined the Birmingham Audubon Society in a multiyear study tracking population’s gender.

Started in 2015, the study measures the temperature of the sand along the shore line during sea turtle nesting season to determine how many of the Florida Panhandle’s baby turtles are boys or girls.

Andrew Coleman of the Birmingham Audubon Society is leading the study.

“The aim of the research is to build a long term data set of beach temperatures at Navarre Beach to monitor how they change over time, if at all,” he said. “With the threat of climate change, having a large data set can provide insight on how the nesting environment has changed over time.”

Read the full article in the July 21 issue of Navarre Press. Click HERE to subscribe for as little as $38 per year.




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