Feeding Nature
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WHY ARE SEA TURTLES IMPORTANT

The sea turtle is one of the few animal species that are quite vulnerable. Most of them are migrating from one region to another to avoid predation as much as they can. This, together with the extreme climates they are exposed to, causes scientists to believe that sea turtles might not be around for much longer. 

Sea turtles are not meant to be dangerous sea animals. This is due to the numerous benefits they offer to their natural habitat. These benefits help to create a balance in the ocean and its surroundings. Some of the significant benefits include:

Protection of Coral Reefs

The Hawksbill species of sea turtles spend most of their adult life among the reefs. This is where they find their food, which is sea sponges. This feeding makes the biodiversity of coral reefs possible. This is because feeding on sponges causes less common types to grow.

Sponges often grow faster than reefs causing them to choke and not grow as expected. The feeding on sponges by hawksbill makes it possible for different corals to grow, which can benefit the ocean.

 

Nutrient to Beach grasses

The adult female sea turtle swims to the beach and lays its eggs deep inside the sand. The hatched eggs left behind by the hatchlings and the numerous dead hatchlings can benefit the beach in several ways. These shells provide enough nutrients, which can help increase the vegetation of the beach. The beach grasses make good use of this nutrient to survive. This also helps in stabilizing the dunes and preventing coastal erosion.

 

Part of the Food Web

This is another importance of sea turtle, as they become prey to certain predators at various stages of their lives. The baby turtle serves as food to the crabs, birds, and land mammals. Other fishes also come after the hatchlings.

On the other hand, the adult sea turtle is prey to sharks and orcas while in the sea. Some female turtles are prey to jaguars whenever they nest at night. All of these adds up to the food web, making sea turtles an integral part of it.

 

Feeding Balance

Sea turtles also add balance to the food web in the way they feed. The different species feed on various food types; most eating jellyfish is common to most. This helps to keep the population of jellyfish in check. If jellyfish’s population were to explode, we might not be finding larval fish in the ocean any longer.

The green sea turtles also keep the seagrasses in check by feeding on them. This way, they tend to serve as lawnmowers, keeping the beds healthy. This creates a suitable habitat for other sea species, hence causing every species to survive in their way.

 

Tourism and Culture

Sea turtles are also cultural as some communities revere them and look up to them as their ancestors. It is also a source of income for some other communities. This is because some rely on them for ecotourism as people travel from different parts of the world to watch these sea turtles.