What if Sea Turtles Disappeared...

What if Sea Turtles Disappeared...

You probably picked up on the fact that we like Sea Turtles. A lot. 

And some of you have been wondering: "Okay, that’s cool, but why THEM?"

We get that. With so many animals that obviously need help, how did we as a brand and a team choose the Sea Turtle?

(And why should YOU care about them too?)

Besides the fact that Sea Turtles are super inspiring, very cool, and utterly cute, research has shown that these marine creatures play a surprisingly crucial role in their ecosystems. 

Sea Turtles are a Keystone Species. 

Keystone— fun fact—is originally an architecture term. 

A Keystone is placed right at the top of an arch, in between where the two sides meet. It’s the last and most important piece because keystones secure their arch and make sure the other stones don’t fall over. 

If you took away the Keystone, everything would fall down. 

Keystone animal species are similar! Biologists have discovered that Keystone species are essential—in many ways—to the health and flourishing of the surrounding ecosystem! 

What does that mean for us? Exactly how do our turtle buddies keep oceans happy? Well, if Sea Turtles suddenly disappeared, there would be some sad domino effects. 

Sea Turtles Keep Beaches Safe! 

If you’ve ever enjoyed a beautiful nature walk on the beach—you can thank a sea turtle. 

Each nesting season, mama turtles come to lay their eggs in the sand. Of course they want as many babies to make it back to the ocean as possible. But, even during the best seasons, some hatchlings are caught by natural predators. 

Birds, fish, mammals like raccoons and others rely on plentiful hatchlings to feed themselves and their babies during nesting season.

Some eggs just don’t hatch. Those that do, their shells are left in the sand to decompose. The biodegrading shells work to enrich the soil with necessary nutrients— so that beach grasses, flowers, and other sea vegetation can thrive. 

Sea Turtles Protect Biodiversity!

Sea Turtles keep unwanted guests to a minimum. In fact, their diet in particular keeps potentially pesky creatures from crowding the environment! 

Each Sea Turtle species helps in a different way. 

The Hawksbill Turtle love to chow down on very particular sea sponges, anemones, and corals using their unique bird-like beak. This “high maintenance” diet allows other common coral room to grow and increase the biodiversity of reef life. 

If the hawksbill disappeared, fast-growing corals would choke out the slow growers—and leave lots of sea critters without a home. This is even more important today, as coral reefs grow sick and endangered by ocean pollution and rising temperatures. 

Another important snacker? Leatherback turtles! Their cuisine of choice is  jellyfish. (Understandably disappointing if you are a jellyfish) But if Leatherbacks left the scene, jellyfish populations would explode. Jellyfish eat larval fish, and every ocean ecosystem needs their fish! 

Green Turtles are the ocean’s personal lawn-mover. Each time they enjoy a meal of seagrass, the ecosystem gets a healthy haircut. 

Too many or too few of anything can throw nature’s rhythms off track.

That’s why it’s all about balance. Just the right amount of coral, just the right amount of jellyfish, and of course, the right amount of sea turtles! 

The Impact Extends… 

But if we allow Sea Turtles to disappear and the oceans to fall further out of balance—we’re going to feel the disruption too. 

If the Sea Turtles left their habitats, corals, sea grasses, and jellyfish populations could “bloom” out of control.  Sea Turtle extinction would cause declines in those species depending on healthy seagrass beds and coral reefs.

Not only would ocean biodiversity suffer, but so would communities on land that rely on fishing for food and industry. 

Speaking of land, without continued turtle nesting seasons, healthy coastal vegetation, animal life, and dune habitats could literally erode away. Entire habitats would be washed out.

And more than losing out on beach vacations, humans would see their coastal communities in danger of flooding. 

Did you know that some cultures have passed down fables about turtles? 

One of the most famous is that the entire world is carried on the back of four elephants, which are riding on top of a massive Sea Turtle. The Sea Turtle carries the earth safely through the universe.

In a very real way, Sea Turtles are carrying us today too. 

Their existence helps to ensure healthier oceans, beaches, and livelihoods. So when it comes to supporting organizations that take care of our turtle friends—we know there’s actually much more at stake. 

That's why we love our turtle friends so much. And by loving them, we actually love each other— and the entire planet!