Climate Change Causes Decline in Male Turtle Population

March 28, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. drastic / ˈdræs tɪk / (adj.) – describes a major or extreme effect
Example: There was a drastic decline in the population of wolves because of illegal hunting.

2. coast 
/ koʊst / (n.) – the area where the sea touches land
Example: Turtles dig their nests along the coast.

3. incubate / ˈɪn kyəˌbeɪt / (v.) – to keep eggs under a constant warm temperature to encourage hatching
Example: Hens incubate their eggs by sitting on them.

4. yield / yild / (v.) – to give rise to or result in something
Example: The rising temperatures yielded more problems in the environment.

5. erosion / ɪˈroʊ ʒən / (n.) – the process of slowly being destroyed or worn away
Example: Trees were planted on the edge of the mountain to prevent erosion.


Read the text below.
Climate change is causing a drastic decline in the number of male marine turtles, research from the Florida State University revealed.

A study conducted by researchers found that turtle hatchling populations are becoming more female-dominated, with 94% of eggs hatching as females in the northern Brazilian coasts. The phenomenon is brought about by the continuous rise in temperature in coastal areas, as temperature directly affects the gender of turtle hatchlings.

For turtle eggs to hatch, they need to be incubated at temperatures between 24 to 34 degrees Celsius. Temperatures below 30 degrees Celsius yield male turtles. If temperatures   rise beyond this point, eggs will hatch as females.

Although the study was done in Brazil, the results are applicable worldwide because the relationship between temperature and gender is universal among turtles. Researchers from the University of Western Australia has also observed the phenomenon in hatchlings in Australian coasts.

The team is now studying how turtles would adapt against the rapid changes in the climate. They are also considering possible interventions to increase male turtle hatchlings and prevent the extinction of the species.

Marine turtle extinction has many adverse effects on coastal and underwater ecosystems. Marine turtles help spread sea grass across the sea bed. Without turtles, many fish and marine animals would lose their breeding grounds, including fish harvested by humans for food.

Unhatched turtle eggs are also a major source of nourishment to coastal soil, which has very limited nutrition. Without nourishment, plants which help prevent erosion in beaches will not grow. Coastal erosion would bring the sea further inland, causing danger to coastal communities.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What is the importance of keeping a close watch on endangered animals?
·         Do you think that the government should prioritize projects that aim to conserve endangered animals? Explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         What would happen if marine species continued to decrease in the coming years?
·         How can we help prevent the population decline of marine species?

March 28, 2016