Coast to Coral: Baby Turtles! Hot Chicks and Cool Dudes

Join Reef Check Australia and friends on the second Tuesday night of each month in your lounge room/office/comfy chair, for an evening of discovery, inspiration and appreciation of our local marine, coastal and catchment environments.

This month we will hear from Melissa Staines. Melissa is a marine biologist with a bachelor in Science (Hon) and currently a PhD Candidate at the University of Queensland. Melissa has been conducting research on sea turtles since 2017, and has worked with species such as the loggerhead, green, hawksbill and flatback turtle. Melissa's research specifically has always maintained a focus on the hatching success and phenotypes of hatchlings as a result of global warming. Recently she has been particularly interested in how warming sand temperatures caused by climate change are creating more female hatchlings, as all sea turtle species have temperature-dependent sex determination.

If female-bias occurs across an entire nesting beach it is termed ‘feminisation’ and results in reduced production of male hatchlings. For many tropical regions around the world, increases in the frequency of heavy rainfall events are predicted with increasing air temperature, which may counter the feminisation of turtle populations that would otherwise occur. Therefore, as part of the WWF-Australia ‘Turtle Cooling Project’, Melissa aimed to;
1. determine the importance of heavy rainfall events at key hawksbill and green turtle nesting beaches for male hatchling production in the Asia-Pacific region;
2. model past and future hatchling sex-ratios using sand and air temperature data proxies; and
3. use aerial surveys to estimate the breeding sex-ratio at a regionally significant green sea turtle mating ground in the southern GBR, Australia.

As many sea turtle rookeries globally are known to have a female-biased primary sex-ratio, we need to know how the adult population is responding and if males need to overcompensate for themselves. The project will provide new insights to better inform conservation managers on sex-ratio trends of key populations and their relative risk to feminisation.

Virtual doors (zoom) opens at 6.25pm for a 6:30 pm start.

Stay after the event for networking and nibbles (BYO obviously!) - get your burning questions answered and continue your thoughts, ideas and sea-minded discussions with your local community, all from the comfort of your couch!

Bring a mate and share in the discovery!

At Reef Check Australia we’re all about inspiring our mates and we love to read your thoughts! So, share your favourite parts about the night and tag us! Reef Check Australia #coasttocoral

This initiative is hosted by Reef Check Australia, and proudly supported by oh so many groups including the City of Gold Coast, Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd, Sunshine Coast Council's Environment Levy partnerships grant, and Townsville City Council.

Future talks take place on the second Tuesday night of each month, with a new, interesting and engaging speaker.

For more information contact

July 12, 2022 at 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Will you come?