Sea turtles have been on the earth for over 220 million years - even before the dinosaurs! They have survived the odds time and time again. So why is it now that 4 of the 7 known species of sea turtles are listed as endangered or critically endangered on the IUCN Red List? There are a number of reasons why sea turtle populations are declining but all of those reasons are because of human impact. Between getting caught as bycatch in fishing gear, tangled in discarded ghost nets, and ingesting plastic that gets mistaken as fish, sea turtles are in danger because of us. That means it is also up to us to help keep their home healthy and debris-free so that sea turtle populations can begin to thrive again.
4Ocean's main headquarters is located in the South East region of Florida, which is home to thousands of sea turtle nests. In the later part of spring and early part of summer, thousands of female Loggerheads, Green Turtles, and Leatherbacks lay their eggs on Florida's beaches. Later in the summer, sea turtle hatchlings emerge from their nests and make their way to the ocean. We know how important it is to keep our oceans and coastlines clean, especially during sea turtle nesting season. At many of our beach cleanups during the summer, we come across sea turtle nests along the way and make sure to remove any trash we find that could pose a threat to both adult turtles and newborn hatchlings.
For the month of June we will be partnering with the Florida Atlantic University Marine Research Lab (FAU MRL). The FAU MRL is a part of the Florida Atlantic University Biological Sciences Department and is located right here in Boca Raton, FL. At the lab, students, professors, and scientists develop experiments and make observations in order to further the science and understanding of sea turtles. Some studies that are currently being conducted are:
We chose to partner with the FAU Marine Research Lab because what we do everyday - cleaning the ocean - has the potential to create significant benefits with regards to the preservation of sea turtle species around the world. Every year, tens of thousands of sea turtles are affected by marine debris, more specifically plastic pollution. By working together, we know that we can create a safe habitat, both on land and in the open ocean, for sea turtles to live in.
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Our latest shoreline cleanup at Matheson Hammock proved just how much trash can become trapped in mangroves habitats. With hundreds of participants at the cleanup, it is no wonder we collected over 5,000 pounds of trash and recyclables!