Saturday, July 24, 2010

Not Just Another Pretty Face

Turns out sea turtles are more than fascinating ancient mariners capable of amazing feats like swimming thousands of miles away from the beach where they were born only to return years later to lay eggs on that same beach. That would make any GPS blush. If that's not enough, Oceana just released a report that outlines the value of sea turtles to ecosystems and  the marine life around them.  The context is another example of what's at stake with BP's Gulf disaster.

Below is a highlight from the report:

"As sea turtles in the Gulf continue to be impacted by the oil spill, so does their ability to fulfill vital functions in the marine ecosystem. Sea turtles’ ability to do the following will likely be affected by the spill:
  • Maintain healthy seagrass beds by increasing the productivity and nutrient content of seagrass blades when grazing.
  • Maintain healthy coral reefs by removing sponges when foraging.
  • Facilitate nutrient cycling by supplying a concentrated source of high-protein nutrients when nesting.
  • Balance marine food webs by maintaining jellyfish populations.
  • Provide a food source for fish by carrying around barnacles, algae and other similar organisms.
  • Increase the rate of nutrient recycling on the ocean floor by breaking up shells while foraging.
  • Provide habitat for small marine organisms as well as offer an oasis for fish and seabirds in the open ocean."
Here is the write-up about sea turtles and Oceana's report from HULIQ:

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