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Linsmayer Family Inspires $17K for Sea Turtle Research

July 14, 2021

Celebrating the success of the Linsmayer Family Challenge, Coastal Wildlife Director Kelly Sloan is pictured here with Linda and Nick Linsmayer, and their dog Frank. In response to the Linsmayers’ $10,000 challenge, SCCF received an additional $17,775 in gifts to support a sea turtle sex ratio research study. 

Sloan presented details of a vital research initiative at the Bailey Homestead Preserve Pavilion in honor of World Sea Turtle Day as the challenge was also announced.

In an effort to investigate how the incubation environment affects sex ratios, SCCF is doing a scientific study to measure temperature, moisture, and groundwater influence on loggerhead hatchling sex ratios. Research has already proven that a sea turtle’s sex is determined by the temperature of the sand where the egg incubates. Even relatively modest increases to nest temperatures have a dramatic impact. Studies have shown that when loggerhead eggs are incubated in 84.2﮿ F sand, there is a 50/50 male-to-female sex ratio of hatchlings. Yet when the temperature rises even slightly, the percent of females increases.   

Through a novel analysis that uses a small amount of blood to identify a protein present only in males, the sex of hatchlings from 21 nests on Sanibel is currently being assigned. As Sloan explained, “Even though we cannot affect short-term climate changes, we can gain a better understanding of what incubation conditions increase the male to female ratios of hatchlings in a natural setting.”

Sloan also expressed great appreciation for all the donors who responded to the Linsmayers’ challenge.

“This research has global significance. We are thrilled that the Linsmayers took such a leadership role in ensuring that we can deepen our understanding of what determines the sex of hatchlings on our islands,” said Sloan. “We are just awed by how many people responded to their challenge.”

Linda Linsmayer also prompted a new partnership between SCCF and The Shack’s owners Chuck and Lisa Whitman. Not only did the Whitmans provide their delicious custard for 100 World Sea Turtle Day event guests on June 16, they also pledged ongoing support. For the next year, SCCF will receive 25% of the net proceeds The Shack receives from the sale of their flavor called “Sea Turtle.”

You can still support SCCF’s vital role in understanding and positively impacting this worldwide crisis.

To have your tax-deductible donation to this research effort doubled in honor of World Sea Turtle Day, please click here to go to SCCF’s Donor Box page. After indicating the size of your matching gift, click on “Write Us a Comment” and type “sea turtle research” into the dropdown field. Continue from there with your online contribution.

You can also mail a contribution to SCCF Sea Turtle Research, PO Box 839, Sanibel, FL 33957-0839. Please contact SCCF Development Director Cheryl Giattini at 239-822-6121 or with questions. 


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