Leatherback Sea Turtles

Report
Written and presented By: Ozzie
Damiani, Emiliy Seymour, Miranda
Sheppard, Rachael Weagle and Kirsten
Ernst
Mentor: Jenny Litt
Wondercamp 2010
COASTLINES
coast·line- the land and water lying adjacent to a
shoreline.
People are concerned about the effects of water
on the land of our coasts , eroding away our
worlds landscape but another thing at risk is the
marine life that live in those waters, especially sea
turtles, like the leatherback sea turtle.
ABOUT THE LEATHER BACK TURTLE
 The Leatherback turtle is the largest turtle in the world! An
average adult leatherback is 4 to 8 feet long, and 500 to
2000 pounds in weight.
 The leatherback turtle gets its name from its covering on its
back being a carapace, a much weaker, leather type material
that sits in place of a shell.
 30 years ago, there were about 115000 female leatherback
turtles that would lay their eggs a year. Today, only about 26
000 female leatherbacks lay eggs per year.
(www.fws.gov)
http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=leatherb
ack+turtle+nesting+on+beach&docid=1332131
27847&mid=791C9C774D5FEC46D08C791C
9C774D5FEC46D08C&FORM=LKVR8#
ABOUT THE LEATHERBACK TURTLE
 This particular breed of turtle has been around for more then
100 000 000 years!
 Leatherback turtles can be found swimming practically anywhere in the
world, swimming as far north as Nunavut and Russia, or as southern as
Australia and Cape Horn, Argentina
 It is one of the few remaining sea turtles that swims around our
province of Nova Scotia.
NESTING SPOTS
Red dots-major nesting locations
Yellow dots- minor nesting locations
Leatherback turtles nest along the coast of Mexico, Costa Rica,
Puerto Rico, Malaysia, Columbia, Indonesia, U.S Virgin Islands and
Florida.They dig holes to settle into, and then lay their eggs.
NESTING OF THE LEATHERBACK
TURTLE
•Throughout the world where leatherback turtles nest,
people eat their eggs.
•Many nests are lost to predators like dogs and humans.
•Because leatherback turtles nest on beaches, like all
species of sea turtles, sometimes these are destroyed by
coastal development because human beings also want to
live and play on these same beaches.
•Leatherback turtle beaches are affected by dredging,
ship, small boat traffic and construction.
Bright lights and pollution
http://www.sprep.org/factsheets/le
atherbacks/index.htm
Explains that each year
most of the babies don’t
even make it to the water
from these activities
disrupts nesting behavior
and confuses hatchlings
when they emerge from
the nest, often resulting in
a high number of deaths.
HUMAN EFFECTS ON THE
LEATHERBACK TURTLES.
Due to human and fisheries effect on the leatherback turtles 80-95% of their
population has died over the past 20 years
Approximately one thousand leatherbacks die every year by fishing nests and
other gear.
Coastal development can destroy and has degraded leatherback habitat therefore
they cannot nest and no hatchlings will be born, some of the costal developments
that cause this are jetties, sea walls, hotels and houses.
Human alterations to the beach can drive the turtles away so they will not nest,
therefore the population cannot increase.
When plastic bags are placed into the water where a leatherback is living it may
mistake the bag as a jelly fish and will try to ingest it and it can cause it to die,
there for to help save these turtles we need to not pollution into the waters.
http://www.sprep.org/factsheets/leatherbacks/index.htm
 ship and small boat traffic
 They die from drowning, caused by
getting caught in fishing nets or
fishing lines.
 Pollution like plastics, old fishing
gear and other garbage can lead to
death of leatherbacks if the ingest it
or get tangled into it.
 Chemical pollutants or oil can
cause weakness and make it easier
for them to attract diseases.
http://www.sprep.org/factsheets/leatherbacks/ind
ex.htm
http://www.conservation.org/learn/biodiversity/species/profiles/turtles/
sea_turtles/leatherback/Pages/threats.aspx
TEMPERATURES CHANGING: A MAJOR
EFFECT!!
 Lately, the temperatures have significantly been rising, including the ocean
temperature and sand.
 If the temperature reaches a peek of 91 degrees Fahrenheit or 31 degrees Celsius,
the leatherback turtle’s eggs can die, leaving a much lower population.
 The hatching season can also be effected. If the temperature rises, which it has been,
there will be a less population of male turtles compared to the number of females.

http://news.discovery.com/animals/sea-turtles-global-warming.html

http://www.iucn.org/about/work/programmes/species/our_work/climate_change_and_species/species_and_climate_change_more_than_just_the_polar_bear/
INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF FEROCIOUS
STORMS:
 When a storm such as a hurricane, tsunami or cyclone hits a coastline,
it can erode part it away. This causes:
 Eggs being washed away, a less population.
 Changes in when hatchlings are born: more females compared to males.

http://www.sprep.org/factsheets/leatherbacks/index.htm
THE IMPACT OF RISING SEA LEVELS
 Sea Levels have risen approximately 1.8mm per year ever since 1961. This
will continue, slow but at a steady pace.
 As sea levels rise, and come ashore, shorelines and beaches, it erodes, loss
of eggs. There is less of a habitat spot for the leatherback turtles to go to.
 Sea Walls don’t help, when referred to the turtle as they reduce the number
of habitation spots for them.

http://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/fact_sheet_red_list_turtle.pdf
THE IMPORTANCE OF LEATHER BACK
TURTLES ON THE OCEAN'S ECOSYSTEMS.
Q: Are leather back turtles really
important to the ocean’s
ecosystem?
Q: What role do they play in the
ocean’s ecosystem?
Q: What would happen if these turtles
became extinct?
THE IMPORTANCE OF LEATHERBACK
TURTLES ON THE OCEAN’S ECOSYSTEM.
These turtles bind all of the organism together specifically through the food
chain. They feed on certain plants and microscopic organisms therefore
controlling their population.
Some of the species that they consume are very invasive. They could over
populate in coral reefs. After a short amount of time they could destroy the
coral reefs. These reefs support millions of species of marine animals and
plants. Therefore with the coral reefs gone many of these species would
have a huge risk of becoming endangered or extinct.
THE IMPORTANCE OF LEATHERBACK
TURTLES IN THE OCEAN’S ECOSYSTEM.
Healthy
coral reefs.
The leather back turtle feeds on invasive plants.
Keeping the coral reef controlled and healthy.
THE IMPORTANCE OF LEATHERBACK
TURTLES ON THE OCEAN’S ECOSYSTEM.
Unhealthy
or destroyed
coral reefs.
With a reduced number or extinction of
leather back turtles the coral reefs can no
longer thrive. Invasive plants will start to
take over the reef.
THE IMPORTANCE OF LEATHERBACK
TURTLES ON THE OCEAN’S ECOSYSTEM.
Leatherback turtles are very important to the earths biodiversity as well as
the ocean’s ecosystem. If there was an absence (extinction) of these turtles
it could have a disastrous effect.
THE SOLUTION!
If a leatherback turtle lays it’s eggs on a populated beach, a barrier should
be constructed around the nest. There should be a small opening for
them to get out once they are hatched.
THE SOLUTION!
In the case that a leatherback sea turtle lays it’s eggs on a particular shoreline
there should be a phone number or hotline that you can call to report the
eggs so that they can be isolated.
THE SOLUTION!
To slow coastal eroding we could stop
developing near the shoreline.
THE SOLUTION!
Another way to help coastal erosion
would be beach replenishment and
nourishment.
Beach replenishment
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/08/nyregion/newjersey/08beachnj.html?_r=1
THE SOLUTION!
Other small ways we can make a difference are:

Do not litter along the shorelines.

Turn off your outside lights at night.

Watch out for sea turtle eggs on the beaches.

If you see old fishing nets please dispose of them.

Pick up litter along the shoreline.

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