UNF study to hatch 400 alligator eggs

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A study by a University of North Florida biology professor will explore how rising temperatures will impact alligator populations.

As part of Adam Rosenblatt’s study, 400 alligator eggs will be exposed to heat on a roof on the UNF campus.

Once the eggs are moved to a lab for hatching, there will be an alligator camera, a university spokeswoman said.

The eggs are expected to hatch after the 60- to 90-day incubation period. After hatching, Rosenblatt will determine the sex of each alligator.

The study intends to understand how increasing temperatures will impact the male-to-female ratio in alligator populations. 

According to Rosenblatt, there is concern about the balance between males and females in reptile species. An imbalance between males and females could lead to decreasing reproduction and eventual extinction.

Individual sex in alligators and other reptiles is determined by the temperature of the nest, not genetics, which is the case for humans. 

A decline in alligator populations could lead to environmental damage and economic losses for Florida, according to Rosenblatt.

"Alligators are a natural part of the environment. A lot of people in Florida are scared of alligators," Rosenblatt told News4Jax on Monday. "We need to have respect for them and learn how to share our space with them."

He added that a decline in alligator populations could also result in economic losses for Florida.

"Alligators are big business here in Florida, and across the southeast," Rosenblatt said. "In Florida, (the) Florida Fish and Wildlife (Conservation Commission) estimates our alligator industry brings in about $20 million every year."

The alligators will eventually go back to Louisiana, where Rosenblatt got the eggs. 

About the Authors:

Jacksonville native and proud University of Florida graduate who joined News4Jax in March 2016.