Sea Turtles Are a Conservation Success Story - Mostly
Ian Evans - Oceans Deeply
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October 20, 2017

Biologist Margaret Lamont holds up one of her research subjects (Margaret Lamont)

Update: More Than One Million Sea Turtle Hatchlings Released in Quintana Roo This Year (Riviera Maya News)

Last month, a paper published in the journal Science Advances announced a conservation success: Imperiled sea turtle populations were, in general, rising. For example, from 1973 to 2012, the number of green turtles nesting on a Hawaiian beach grew from 200 to 2,000. Hawaiian green turtles are now listed as a subpopulation of “least concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

But the recent report was not all good news. The populations of leatherback turtles in the North Atlantic continue to drop, and some species, like flatback turtles, remain “data deficient,” meaning that researchers have very little information with which to estimate the size of the population.

There are seven species of sea turtles around the world, each with a unique biology and habitat that faces different threats. Even small differences between populations and species can change how well they recover, says Margaret Lamont, a biologist with the United States Geological Survey. Lamont is also a researcher at the University of Florida’s Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research, and has studied several species of sea turtles. She says that understanding which conservation efforts work and don’t work is particularly challenging, because the animals live for so long.

Oceans Deeply spoke with Lamont about why some species of turtles are recovering at different rates than others and why good data on these animals is so challenging to collect.

Read the interview at Oceans Deeply

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