[dropcap]This month our Kalaupapa Natural Resources Management team wrapped up the year’s green sea turtle monitoring project on Kalaupapa's black sands beach. The green sea turtle, Chelonia mydas, once an endangered species, has recently been declared "threatened”. [/dropcap]
This year, 4 out of our 9 nests had eggs, with an average of 86 eggs per nest. Any of these mature female turtles will most likely return to their birth beach to lay their eggs- a phenomenon scientists still do not fully understand.
[quote]On average, only 1 out of 1,000 of these hatchlings will survive to sexual maturity.[/quote]
[dropcap]With no sign of decreasing carbon emissions, global climate change has caused some concern for scientists monitoring these animals. The sex of a turtle hatchling is determined by the temperature of the sand. The cooler eggs on the bottom of the nest become males, while the hotter eggs on the top of the nest become females; the phrase "hot mamas" is an easy way to remember the correlation. With ever increasing temperature extremes, researchers are finding that nests are producing vastly more females than males, which may inhibit the reproductive success for the species in the near future. [/dropcap]
What you can do:
In the age of almost indefinite access to information, citizen scientists can be an extremely helpful resource to the scientific community. If you see turtles, admire and respect them from a distance. Record and report any turtle tracks you see to the local authorities.