Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Saving Threatened Turtles In The Caribbean

Date:
November 6, 2006
Source:
University of Exeter
Summary:
Ecology and conservation experts from the University of Exeter are urging international governments to work together to protect threatened Caribbean sea turtle populations. The Cayman Islands, a UK Overseas Territory, once supported one of the world's largest sea turtle rookeries, which comprised some 6.5 million adult green and loggerhead turtles. These populations were driven into decline from the mid-1600s onwards, when massive harvesting of nesting turtles began. Only a few dozen individuals survive today.

A Cayman Islands loggerhead turtle.
Credit: Janice Blumenthal

Ecology and conservation experts from the University of Exeter are urging international governments to work together to protect threatened Caribbean sea turtle populations.

The Cayman Islands, a UK Overseas Territory, once supported one of the world's largest sea turtle rookeries, which comprised some 6.5 million adult green and loggerhead turtles. These populations were driven into decline from the mid-1600s onwards, when massive harvesting of nesting turtles began. Only a few dozen individuals survive today.

New research, led by the University of Exeter's School of Biosciences and the Cayman Islands Department of Environment, reveals the astonishing distances these animals travel and the extent to which they are now threatened. The study was published open access today in the international conservation journal Endangered Species Research.

Marine turtles spend most of their lives at sea, but where these Cayman Islands survivors live when they are not nesting has been a mystery until now. Experts from the University of Exeter, the Cayman Islands Department of Environment and Duke University, USA, followed the journeys of ten endangered adult females over three years.

Using satellite transmitters, the team tracked the turtles travelling as far as Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and the USA. On these long journeys, turtles face the risk of being caught for meat, as well as accidentally captured by shrimp trawls, longlines, and gillnets. As turtles travel across boundaries between countries, conservation legislation is inconsistently applied and enforced, leaving them vulnerable.

Dr Brendan Godley of the School of Biosciences at the University of Exeter said: 'Having followed these turtles thousands of miles through the ocean, we now know where they go, so can identify which countries need to be involved in their conservation. We are running out of time and what is now needed is a team effort from all of the governments to save these fragile populations.'

Facts about sea turtles

  • Turtles evolved hundreds of millions of years ago. These ancient reptiles have lived on earth since the time of the dinosaurs.
  • Female turtles typically lay up to six 'clutches' of over 100 eggs.
  • The temperature of the sand around a nest determines whether baby turtles, known as 'hatchlings', will be male or female. Colder temperatures produce males, whereas warmer temperatures produce females.
  • Hatchling turtles always return to the beaches where they were born to nest.
  • Baby turtles hatch from their nests at night and race to the sea by moonlight. Lights near the beach should be turned off during the summer so turtles do not go in the wrong direction.
  • It may take decades for green and loggerhead turtles to mature in the wild.
  • In some parts of the world, loggerhead and green turtles are hunted for meat, and their eggs are taken from nesting beaches. Today, both species are considered endangered.
  • Sea turtles may be able to live for up to 100 years.
  • Turtles drink saltwater and get rid of extra salt through special glands in their eyes.
  • Loggerhead and green turtles are found in tropical and sub-tropical waters around the world.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Exeter. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Exeter. "Saving Threatened Turtles In The Caribbean." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 November 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061101151510.htm>.
University of Exeter. (2006, November 6). Saving Threatened Turtles In The Caribbean. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061101151510.htm
University of Exeter. "Saving Threatened Turtles In The Caribbean." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061101151510.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

AP (July 22, 2014) Sounding alarms about the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, CDC Director Tom Frieden warned Tuesday if the global community does not confront the problem soon, the world will be living in a devastating post-antibiotic era. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins