Wed. Nov 13th, 2019

the Torch

The student voice of Wichita High School South

Top 5 Reasons to Save the Turtles

4 min read

 1. Turtles eat seagrass

Seagrass in the blue ocean

Turtles are the only animal that eat seagrass and keep it healthy. When seagrass becomes overgrown and obstructs currents, cover the bottom with darkness, and begin to decompose and provide a suitable habitat for the growth of smile molds, turtles keep the grass at the right height so the mold doesn’t have a chance to grow.

# 2. Turtles play an important role in the ocean’s ecosystem

Clouds of reef fish and corals, French frigate shoals, NWHI

Turtles maintain seagrass beds and keep them healthy. Turtles remove sponges from coral reefs, giving more room for coral to grow. If sponges overgrow, they suffocate slow-growing corals, causing them to die. Turtles provide key habitats for other marine life. Turtles help balance marine food webs and keep nutrients cycling from water to land.

#3. Turtles Keep Beaches healthy

Baby turtles on the sandy beach

Turtles help beaches by depositing their eggs on the beaches. Eggshells and unhatched eggs leave a nutrient that nourishes dune vegetation. When turtle eggs hatch, they carry egg matter and nest organisms to the surface. Turtles lay up to 100 eggs per nest and have 8 nests on average during nesting session. The eggshells stabilize dunes and help prevent coastal erosion.

#4. Turtles provide habits

Epibiont on the turtle

Many marine animals call turtles their home. Epibionts are one of the marine animals to call turtles their home. Epibionts are small creatures that attach themselves to solid surfaces to live on. Epibionts attach themselves to the turtles’ shells because of the hard surface. Turtles provide an increased rate of survival for the Epibionts by enhanced foraging and wider dispersal.

#5. Provide food for fish 

Turtle swimming in the ocean

Turtles act like a delivery boy for some fish and other marine species. This is because they carry around barnacles, algae, and epibionts. There are “cleaning stations” for turtles to visit. The turtles can get cleaned there like a salon. There are fish at the cleaning stations to eat the little treats left on the turtle’s shell.  This activity feeds small organisms, but also keep turtles clean.

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