Rising sea levels are not only sinking our planet, but also threatening baby turtle populations. A new study, published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, reveals how rising sea levels translate into shorter time of saltwater inundation during high tides caused by severe storms, and it lowers green turtle egg viability. The study was done by Australia’s James Cook University, revealing that the viability of turtle eggs is threatened by rising sea levels.
The number of baby turtles successfully hatched was lowered because of rising sea levels. For the study, the researchers chose one of the largest green turtle populations in the world, on largest green turtle populations in the world.
The odds of an egg to hatch on the island reduced significantly from 12 to 36% between 2011 and 2015. The researchers conducted the study in lab settings and found that the eggs that were inundated with saltwater for six hours or more had 30% lesser likelihood to hatch.
James Cook University’s Dr David Pike, lead researcher of the project, said climate change is the major cause behind sea level rise. “We are trying to anticipate the early effects. In some places it only takes a small rise in sea levels, when combined with a storm or a king tide, to inundate what had previously been secure nesting sites”, he said.
He said that it is very important to have human intervention to protect green turtles in future.