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Florida sea turtle numbers up, but climate change poses threat

Central Florida beaches are reporting record numbers of loggerhead sea turtle nests, reversing a recent decline. But hotter summers pose a long-term danger to the threatened species.
By Ludmilla Lelis

Canaveral National Seashore and neighboring beaches in central Florida are reporting record numbers of loggerhead sea turtle nests, a promising change from a decade-long drop.

But now a new threat is looming: rising temperatures. Summers are gradually getting warmer at Canaveral. And with climate change scenarios projecting the trend to continue, there's increasing concern it might get so hot that the eggs literally fry.

This could mean trouble especially for the male of the species, which is already at a disadvantage in Florida. Sea turtle biologists have long used the adage "hot mamas, cool dads" as a reminder that loggerhead sea turtles become male or female based on the temperature when their eggs incubate — higher temperatures make them females.

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