Photo taken at: Raine Island
On Raine Island, the largest turtle breeding colony in the Pacific Ocean, scientists discovered that 99% of the turtle population is female. This is because a sea turtle’s sex is determined by the temperature of the sand in which it is incubated. If the sand is above 87.8°F, it is almost guaranteed to produce female hatchlings. Scientists estimate that in the 1970’s and 1980’s, the hatching female to male ratio was 6:1 where as now it is 116:1. The beaches on Raine Island have little to no shade, so the eggs are at the mercy of the changing climate. Breeding colonies in cooler areas and ones with plentiful shade are safe for now as they still produce male hatchlings. But the increase of global temperatures will jeopardize sea turtle reproduction.