Green Turtles Are Mistaking Plastic for the Sea Grass They Normally Eat

Written by on August 11, 2019 in Environment, Wildlife with 0 Comments

By Jordan Davidson | EcoWatch

Endangered green turtles are having a problem. They're mistaking plastic pollution for the seaweed they survive on, according to new research from the University of Exeter in the UK and the Society for the Protection of Turtles in Cyprus, as Newsweek reported.

Green sea turtles use their eyesight to find food, so long, thin bits of green, black or clear plastic that resemble seagrass deceived many turtles. And, the younger they were, the more likely they were to mistake plastic for their dietary staple, the study reported. The paper was published in the journal Scientific Reports.


Black trash bags, fragments of fishing ropes and takeaway bags all have the potential to confuse turtles, the BBC reported.

“Previous research has suggested leatherback turtles eat plastic that resembles their jellyfish prey, and we wanted to know whether a similar thing might be happening with green turtles,” said Dr. Emily Duncan, of the University of Exeter who was the paper's lead author, in a statement. “Sea turtles are primarily visual predators — able to choose foods by size and shape — and in this study, we found strong evidence that green turtles favor plastic of certain sizes, shapes, and colors.”

The researchers studied 34 turtles that had washed up on the beaches of the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus. They were able to look at the insides of 19 turtles. All of them had swallowed plastic.

One had swallowed 183 pieces of plastic, the BBC reported.

The plastic crisis is particularly troubling for younger turtles, which ate more plastic than the older ones, possibly because they were “less experienced” and so “more likely to eat the wrong food,” the study said.

“Research like this helps us understand what sea turtles are eating, and whether certain kinds of plastic are being ingested more than others,” said Prof. Brendan Godley, who leads the Exeter Marine research strategy, in a University of Exeter press release.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed Connect on YouTube

New Title

NOTE: Email is optional. Do NOT enter it if you do NOT want it displayed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

FAIR USE NOTICE. Many of the articles on this site contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making this material available in an effort to advance the understanding of environmental issues, human rights, economic and political democracy, and issues of social justice. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law which contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. If you wish to use such copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use'...you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. And, if you are a copyright owner who wishes to have your content removed, let us know via the "Contact Us" link at the top of the site, and we will promptly remove it.

The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Conscious Life News assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms.

Paid advertising on Conscious Life News may not represent the views and opinions of this website and its contributors. No endorsement of products and services advertised is either expressed or implied.
Top
Send this to a friend