Editorial, J Mar Biol Oceanogr Vol: 9 Issue: 2
Habitat of Sea Turtles
University of Bordeaux, Marine Biology Institute, France
*Corresponding Author : Gloria Simmons University of Bordeaux, Marine Biology Institute, France E-mail: [email protected]
Received: July 24, 2020 Accepted: July 24, 2020 Published: July 31, 2020
Citation: Simmons G (2020) Habitat of Sea Turtles. J Mar Biol Oceanogr 9:2. doi: 10.37532/jmbo.2020.9(3).e107
Keywords: Sea turtles, marine environment, Chelonioidea
Sea Turtles belongs to the superfamily Chelonioidea and are also known as marine turtles. They are the reptiles of the order Testudines and of the suborder Cryptodira. Sea turtle is considered one of the most majestic species of its family because of its distinguished body structure, gentle nature and long lifespan. These extraordinary creatures glide freely through the sea as reported by many swimmers, snorkelers and divers across the globe. Sea turtles have been admired by humans for millennia. In fact, tales of the world being built on the back of a sea turtle is featured in various creation stories. Unlike their freshwater relatives, the head and limbs of sea turtles are fixed outside the shell and thus they cannot retract into the shell. This distinctive feature, along with a streamlined shell, makes them more hydrodynamic in the water than their land-based counterparts, allowing them to maneuver easily through their saltwater habitat.
Although they are mostly associated with the tropical region yet, sea turtles are actually found in all of the world’s oceans except for the polar seas. Sea turtles are commonly found in the waters over the continental shelves. During the initial stages of their life, generally between first three to five years of life, they spend most of their time in the pelagic zone floating in seaweed mats. Sea turtles are adapted to live in the ocean, with some unique features that help them to survive in the marine environment. They require air to breathe and land to lay their eggs as most of the other reptile species. However, the majority of their lives are spent underwater. Adults of most species are found in shallow, coastal waters, bays, lagoons, and estuaries whereas the juniors of some species may be found in bays and estuaries, as well as at sea.
The seven existing species of sea turtles are the Green sea turtle, Loggerhead sea turtle, Kemp's ridley sea turtle, Olive ridley sea turtle, Hawksbill sea turtle, Flatback sea turtle, and Leatherback sea turtle
1. Green sea turtles: They are often found in Saragassum mats, in which they shelter food and water. After reaching the adulthood, they move closer to the shore. Females of these species will come ashore to lay their eggs on sandy beaches during the nesting season. They migrate primarily along the coasts from nesting to feeding grounds. However, some populations travel across the Atlantic Ocean; from Ascension Island nesting grounds to Brazilian coast feeding grounds
2. Loggerhead sea turtles: Species of such type are found in tropical, subtropical and sometimes temperate waters, to boundaries to water currents. They refer bays, but found in coastal streams, creeks and sometimes open ocean. Moreover, they are distributed worldwide
3. Kemp's ridley turtles: Their habitat is mostly the shallow areas with sandy or muddy bottoms rich in crustaceans. They follow two major routes in the Gulf of Mexico: one northward to the Mississippi area, and the other southward to the Campeche Bank, near the Yucatan Peninsula
4. Olive ridleys: They are mostly coastal and does not go beyond the continental shelf. Their popluation have been observed in large flotillas traveling between feeding and nesting grounds in the Indian Oceans and Eastern Pacific
5. Hawksbill: They are found throughout central Atlantic and Indopacific regions. They are the most tropical of all sea turtles. However, their migration studies have been limited. Evidence suggests that some hawksbill populations show cyclic nesting migrations. Other researchers have documented nonmigratory and short-distance migratory populations
6. Flatbacks turtles: These species are completely coastal and does not go beyond the continental shelf. They move from their nesting grounds on the northern coast of Australia and its islands to feeding grounds in shallow waters of northeastern Australia. The flatback sea turtle is found solely on the northern coast of Australia
7. Leatherbacks: Species under type are highly oceanic and they approach the coastal waters only during the breeding season. They have the longest migration of all sea turtles
Today, most of these seven species are listed as at least vulnerable to extinction under the IUCN’s Red List. These ancient reptiles, which have been around since the age of the dinosaurs, may yet disappear if we do not act to conserve them. As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, human activity on all beaches and shores has been virtually decreased, resulting in an increase in sea turtle nesting. In Thailand, the highest number of nests in the last 20 years has been found over the last month. Turtles are thriving across the United States as well, as there is less noise and pollution.