The Unique Patterns of Green Turtle Mitochondrial DNA Short Tandem Repeats as a Tool for Geographic Patterns Exposure
Sea turtles have become the flagship of marine ecosystem conservation in the past three decades. Five out of the seven existing sea turtle species (green, hawksbill, loggerhead, leatherback and olive ridley) were declared endangered or even critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In addition to being an animal that people tend to like and identify with, their cultural significance and tourism value, sea turtles are important components of the coastal and pelagic ecosystems in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Sea turtles, when in high population levels, have substantial effect on the marine systems they inhabit as consumers, prey and competitors. They are hosts for parasites and pathogens, substrates for epibionts, nutrient transporters and modifiers of the landscape, especially by maintaining sea grass beds and coral reefs.