In the food chain, sea turtles develop an intermediary role, acting as prey and as predators alike. Their eggs and hatchlings are consumed by a wide variety of species such as crabs, birds and mammals that ingest them in naturally balanced amounts to keep the turtle population stable.
In turn, sea turtles also help to balance the population of other organisms, such as jellyfish and the sponges they feed on, and whose overpopulation would pose a risk to the destruction of the reefs in which they live.
The turtles also feed on seagrasses, preventing their accumulation from obstructing the passage of currents, which would encourage the development of sludge in quantities harmful to their habitat. In this way the oceans preserve their nutritional quality for hundreds of living beings, promoting their proliferation.
It has been observed that a decrease in the number of turtles has also produced a reduction in the population of many other species. In addition, turtles are fundamental to the marine ecosystem also in its relationship with 2 life.
The sand on the beaches would remain infertile if the sea turtles did not make a cyclical contribution of nutrients.
The arrival of these species to the beaches to spawn, promotes a transfer of minerals from the ocean to the surface and vice versa, maintaining a healthy exchange for both ecosystems.
When digging their nests, they produce the movement of tons of sand, refreshing the nutrients of the beach.
Monitoring and Research on all Turtle marine species of Costa Rica and Panama about de effects of climate change in others
Sea turtle populations today have many threats; direct human activities (hunting of adults and consumption of eggs), indirect human activities (urban development, overfishing and contamination by plastic) and other factors such as depredation of nests (wild animals and domestic dogs) and the possible effect of climate change ( high tides, floods, events and extreme temperatures).
In Playa Carate, La Leona and Río Oro, 4 species of turtle nest, the Olive Ridley Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) which is in vulnerable condition according to the IUCN Red List, the Pacific Green Turtle or Black (Chelonia mydas) which is It is in danger of extinction, the Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) which is in critical danger of extinction and the leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriácea) that is in vulnerable condition. Therefore, it is imperative that, together with turtle monitoring, we develop studies that help us formulate proposals for mitigation and adaptation to the different threats, especially to Climate Change.
A monitoring and research project gives us the opportunity to involve different local actors, volunteers and conservation organizations. The air temperature of the earth’s surface has increased twice the temperature of the oceans since 1979 (Trenberth et al., 2007) and the evidence indicates that the warming will continue to increase due to a combination of intrinsic characteristics of the system of land and human actions (IPCC, 2013).
The magnitude of the impact of these changes has not yet been determined exactly, but it is known that they can alter the circulation patterns of marine surface currents, the events of outcrops in the ocean, the location and intensity of extreme weather events and the ocean chemical processes associated with high levels of dissolved carbon dioxide, salinity and pH (IPCC, 2013). Coral reefs are also affected by climate change, as they cause coral bleaching caused by the removal of symbiotic algae (zooxanthelas, Burke and Maidens, 2005), which causes the loss of corals and thus the loss of corals. all the fauna associated with coral reefs, one of the most important habitats for marine turtles.
Plastic debris in the oceans, including lost or non-biodegradable fishing items, poses a great threat to sea turtles, more than 1000 turtles die each year from this cause, young turtles and hatchlings are particularly vulnerable.
The incubation temperature of the clutches can have enormous effects on the development of embryos (as in most reptiles) and the success of neonates, and can be a high cause of mortality.
Considering that marine turtles exhibit gender-dependent determination in temperature, the viability of populations could be compromised due to climate change over time.
The monitoring of the temperature of the clutches, will allow us to determine if they are in the optimum range for the development of embryos. It is also a non-invasive way to estimate the proportions of gender at different temperatures and the implications of global warming.
Phases of Monitoring and Research of global turtle marine species