Turtles face many threats
Getting accidentally caught in fishing gear is probably the biggest threat to marine turtles. It’s also estimated that more than 50% of marine turtles have ingested plastic or other human rubbish - often mistaking it for food such as jellyfish. Plastic washed up on beaches can also limit space for nesting and block tiny hatchlings’ paths to the ocean.
Turtle habitats are being destroyed and put under threat. For example, 50% of the world's coral reefs have been lost and the rest could disappear completely by 2050 if climate change remains unchecked.
Climate change can increase sand temperature (higher temperatures produce more females than males, skewing sex ratios), cause sea level rise (which can flood nests), and can mean an increase in storm events, which will affect hatchling survival.
Photo credit: Loggerhead turtle trapped in a drifting abandoned net, Mediterranean Sea © naturepl.com / Jordi Chias / WWF
Projects like this allow us to understand more about seal populations, and also the effects of global warming on Antarctica and its unique wildlife. Monitoring the health of an ecosystem is an important step towards tackling the climate crisis.