First, I decided to do some research on the conservation status of Sea Turtles. According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the global statuses are classified as followed: Leatherbacks: Vulnerable
Hawksbills: Critically Endangered
Olive Ridleys: Vulnerable
Kemp’s Ridleys: Critically Endangered
Sea Turtles are among the list of top endangered species. Of the seven species, six are considered endangered. Among those six species are the Green Sea Turtles. Several factors have contributed to their rate of extinction. These factors include: climate change, oil spills, unmanaged coastal development, illegal trade, human consumption, and predators. According to the WorldWildlife webpage, “Incidental capture by fishing gear is the greatest threat to most sea turtles, especially endangered loggerheads, greens and leatherbacks. This threat is increasing as fishing activity expands” (wwf.org).
Upon my research, I found another surprising factor that is currently contributing to sea turtle extinction. I discovered the article, “Invasive algae, pollution cause lethal tumors on sea turtles”. The lethal tumors have been most prevalent in Hawaii’s Green Sea Turtle Species.
The tumors are linked to the invasive algae, “Superweed”. The algae grow along an area, where nutrient pollution is not managed regularly. When the sea turtles consume the invasive algae, the amino acids from the algae stimulate a virus that causes the tumors. Scientists have been trying to understand the pathology of these tumors. The tumors were most commonly located on the turtle’s heads, eyes, and flippers. According to Celia Smith, UH Mānoa Marine Biology Professor, “Many hypotheses were offered to explain the tumors, but we kept coming back to the observation that urban reefs—those near dense populations—are the sites with greater numbers of sick turtles. We had no mechanism for this disease” (Invasive algae…sea turtles). Many of the...
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