Imagine a healthy, beautiful ocean. Now remove the sea turtles, one by one.
Not so healthy anymore, is it?
That’s the gist of the report we released today, Why Healthy Oceans Need Sea Turtles: The Importance of Sea Turtles to Marine Ecosystems. The report describes the vital roles sea turtles play in the ecosystem, and how the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is further threatening their ability to fulfill those roles.
As the report outlines, sea turtles provide the following important ecosystem services:
But in order to fulfill this role, the sea turtle has to be, well, alive.
As of yesterday, 709 sea turtles have been found dead or injured since the oil spill began on April 20th. The number is significantly higher than normal, and the actual number of sea turtles affected may be higher, since some dead and injured sea turtles will never be found.