Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Could Global Warming Be Crushing Blow to Crocodiles?

27.11.2006
Rising temperatures may disrupt gender balance among reptile populations, says Earthwatch-supported crocodile researcher Dr. Alison Leslie of University of Stellenbosch. Her comments came during the filming of A Year on Earth, premiering this week on Discovery Kids Channel.

With global temperatures generally on the rise, crocodiles may have a harder time finding mates. For crocodiles, gender is not determined genetically, but rather by embryo temperature during incubation, notes Earthwatch-supported scientist Dr. Alison Leslie, of South Africa’s University of Stellenbosch.

In an interview with three teenagers on a mission to find out about their planet, the subject of the new film A Year on Earth, Leslie explained how global warming could affect crocodile populations worldwide.

“A difference of 0.5 - 1ºC in incubation temperature results in markedly different sex ratios,” says Leslie, principal investigator of Earthwatch’s Crocodiles of the Okavango Delta project. Research shows that nest temperatures of about 32-33 degrees Celsius result in males, while temperatures higher and lower result in females. Temperatures within a nest can vary from the top to the bottom of the nest, and can result in mixed-gender hatchlings.

“More female hatchlings due to the cooler or hotter incubation temperatures could lead to eventual extirpation of the species from an area,” says Leslie.

The three teens, Jamie (18), Arsen (17), and Tyler (16), visited Leslie at her camp in the Okavango Delta, Botswana, where they acted as field research assistants on Leslie’s Earthwatch-supported research expedition. Their participation was part of a feature-length documentary, A Year on Earth, that will air on the Discovery Kids Channel in December.

The teens helped Leslie trap and examine Nile crocodiles big and small to monitor their diet, health, movements, and reproductive biology. Crocodile populations have dwindled dramatically in Botswana, due to overexploitation by hide hunters and conflicts with nearby communities.

“Even though crocodilians have been around for millions of years, and as important as these creatures may be in the systems they occupy, they are a much understudied species,” says Leslie. For more than eight years, in both Botswana and South Africa, Leslie has been working with the support of Earthwatch Institute to change that.

In 2007, Leslie will leave behind her Okavango research camp (in the capable hands of staff member Sven Bourquin), and will embark on a new study of the crocodiles along Zambia’s Zambezi River. Earthwatch volunteers will continue to assist her as she assesses the conservation needs of this population and surveys local villagers about crocodile impacts.

Earthwatch Institute is a global volunteer organization that supports scientific field research by offering members of the public unique opportunities to work alongside leading field scientists and researchers. Earthwatch's mission is to engage people worldwide in scientific field research and education to promote the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable environment. The year 2006 marks Earthwatch's 35th anniversary.

See Dr. Alison Leslie in A Year on Earth, a two-part special to debut on Discovery Kids Channel on December 3 and 10. A Year on Earth chronicles the work of three American teens who join Leslie in the Okavango Delta and several other Earthwatch research projects around the world. Together, they discover how ordinary people can make a difference in the most pressing environmental issues of our time.

Delta Willis | newswise
Further information:
http://www.earthwatch.org/pubaffairs/fieldnews.html

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Waste in the water – New purification techniques for healthier aquatic ecosystems
24.07.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

nachricht Plenty of habitat for bears in Europe
24.07.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>