Sea turtles are unique in that their sex is determined by temperature. This is known as Temperature-Dependent Sex Determination (TSD)
. The temperature of the sea turtle nest will result in either female or male hatchlings. Warmer temperatures will produce a majority of females while cooler temperatures produce mostly males.
Although Sea Turtle Season (March 1 - October 31) has been over for quite some time, there are still many young sea turtles ready to be released to the ocean. Before these young turtles are released, a laparoscopy is done to help determine the sex of each turtle. At least 200 laparoscopies have been done with Loggerheads and Green Sea Turtles this past 2016 season thus far. Of that number, the first male sea turtle was just discovered this past week! The male was a Loggerhead and will be released with 35 other female Loggerheads and 3 Green Sea Turtles this coming week.
In 2015 there were only 2 males compared to roughly 400 females out of all of the sea turtles that were taken care of in the lab and released back to the ocean. There are still another 250 sea turtles whose sex is yet to be determined from this past 2016 season, so we are hoping to have a few more males in the next few weeks!
Look for a new blog post every Monday to find out the latest happenings in the lab, information about releases, and much more!