Ecological Impacts Affecting Populations of Three Marine Turtle Species

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

First Advisor

Amy C. Hirons

Second Advisor

Curtis Burney


Sea turtles are one of the many species listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) today. The problems facing them include, but are not limited to, fisheries by-catch, loss of habitat due to beach development and construction, predation, illegal poaching, and pollution, as well as implications from a changing climate. In order to better conserve these reptiles, the geographic distributions and trophic dynamics of turtles during different ontogenetic stages must be better understood. This work is a review of primary literature on the green (Chelonia mydas), loggerhead (Caretta caretta), and leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) to determine their distribution throughout the oceanic regions they are occupying and their trophic dynamics in these locations. Stable isotope analysis, as well as genetic and satellite techniques, will be discussed as a research method used to elucidate the life histories, geographic locations, and trophic dynamics of these species. From this research, spatial distribution within specific habitats will be analyzed, and possible impacts from the effects of a changing climate will be examined.

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