Through grazing and feeding sea turtles keep sea grass beds and coral reefs balanced and functioning. Both of these habitats are vital to many species that we humans in fact rely on for food, such as tuna, shrimp and lobster.
Healthy beach ecosystem
Vegetation on sand dunes and beaches is vital to the coastal ecosystem. These root systems help to protect the beach from erosion. Un-hatched turtles eggs and egg shells provide a major source of nutrients in areas where vegetation grows on beaches.
Healthy fish populations
Jellyfish feed on fish larvae. Leatherback turtles consume their own body weight in jellyfish every day. Turtles help ensure that jellyfish populations do not get so large that fish populations suffer.
People are fascinated by turtles. Their lives are mysterious – the females are only seen on land when they come to nest, the males may never be seen.
There is so much we still do not know about their lives and the epic voyages they take.
Partly due to the mystique that surrounds them, turtles are culturally very significant in the areas they are found. They are also increasingly popular amongst tourists, desperate for an encounter with these elusive ocean travellers.