Sea Turtle Research

Sea turtles tend to live an isolated and quiet existence in the waters around the world. They are fascinating to researchers as they have survived more than 200 million years. There is significant evidence to indicate they evolved from land animals with appendages to water animals with flippers. They are actually categorized as reptiles along with snakes, crocodiles, and lizards.

There has been a great deal of sea turtle research over the years, but there is still plenty of mystery about them. One of them is what do the younglings due the first year of life? Those that make it to the water seem to simply disappear and so this is often referred to as the lost year by researchers. Finding out more about their survival during this period of time is something they continue to work on.

Through sea turtle research we understand the bare minimum about their reproduction habits. For example we know that it takes place while in the water. We also know that the males of most species never leave the water after they have first reached it. Understanding how the younglings that are left to hatch and find the water on their own is accomplished is still a mystery that they hope to one day understand in better detail.

Some tracking devices have been used on sea turtles and offer us a great deal of information. For example we know that some of the sea turtles can travel hundreds or thousands of miles to reach their breeding grounds. We also know that they return to the same location where they were born year after year to do so.

The research also shows that most species of sea turtles don’t mature until a late age. Generally it is from 15 to 20 years of age. A few species do mature before then but not the majority. It is also hard to determine the life span of a sea turtle. However, it is assumed that most live at least 50 years and some can live to be approximately 80 years of age.

The biggest barrier with sea turtle research is that it is extremely difficult to accurately identify they number of them. Researchers try to count the females that come to land to nest their eggs. Yet these numbers can be inconsistent because for every female there is at least one male to mate with. Yet some females mate with more than one male each season. There is also the fact that the same female can come to land to nest several times. Therefore she may be counted as two or three sea turtles when it is the same one.

What we do know for sure is that the future for all sea turtles is at risk. They are all categorized as Endangered Species. This is due to declining numbers overall, even though in some areas there are actually more than identified in the past. It is believed that if the destruction of their natural habitat continues, we may not see any more sea turtles in the next 50 years.

There is still plenty of great research about sea turtles that continues to take place. It can be time consuming as well as expensive. Some of the best observations have been done with sea turtles that are in captivity. While they do adjust well to the new environment, it is also believed that their behaviors in the wild versus in captivity are very different so that type of observation doesn’t always offer the best information to rely upon. You can find out more about sea turtle research by exploring different online sites.