chrisChristopher Gatto

PhD Candidate 

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Co-supervised by Prof Jeanette Wyneken, Florida Atlantic University, USA


For many years the driver of sex determination in turtles was thought to be environmental temperature alone.  However, recent work has suggested that other environmental variables including moisture pay an important role to influence hatchling sex and fitness.  Determining these interactions is key to understanding sea turtle life history and their capacity to respond to environmental change.

My PhD project is investigating the role of nest moisture in determining primary sex ratios and hatchling performance, with a focus on the ramifications for sex-specific hatchling recruitment. To achieve this, I will measure the performance of hatchlings incubated in the laboratory and in-situ. I will evaluate how performance and sex ratios vary, depending on nest moisture and temperature. Using this data, I will estimate how hatchling recruitment of males and females varies across a season and the implications this has for operational sex ratios.