Overproduction is a driving force in natural selection, as it can lead to adaptation and variations in a species. Darwin argued that all species overproduce, since they have more offspring than can realistically reach reproductive age, based on the resources available.
Like other turtles, green sea turtles lay eggs. Females come ashore sandy beaches to nest a few weeks after mating. Then using her hind flippers, she digs an egg cavity. A female deposits 50 to 200 Ping Pong ball shaped-eggs into the egg cavity. The eggs are soft-shelled, and are papery in texture. They do not break when they fall into the egg cavity because the eggs are surrounded by a thick, clear mucus. The female covers the nest with sand using her hind flippers. Burying the eggs serves three purposes: it helps protect the eggs from surface predators; it helps keep the shells soft and moist, thus protecting them from drying out; and it helps the eggs maintain proper temperature. After burying the eggs, the female returns back to the ocean leaving the hatchlings to fend for themselves.
After about 50-70 days, the eggs hatch and try to make it to the ocean. A remarkable percentage of hatchlings don't make it to the ocean because they are preyed upon by gulls and crabs. It is estimated that only 1% makes it to the ocean. The biggest challenge of a green sea turtle's life is making to the ocean. After making it to the ocean, green sea turtles, usually don't experience too many issues.
Other Important Facts
- Human activities have placed nearly all species of sea turtle are classified as Endangered.
- Killed for their eggs, meat, skin and shells, sea turtles suffer from poaching and over-exploitation.
- They also face habitat destruction and accidental capture in fishing gear.
- Climate change has an impact on turtle nesting sites. It alters sand temperatures, which then affects the sex of hatchlings.