March 10, 2016. Water / Oceans
Flagship species are iconic representatives of their ecosystems and charismatic creatures that capture human attention
Cristina G. Mittermeier, Gregory S. Stone, Russell A. Mittermeier, Octavio Aburto-Oropeza, Claudio Campagna, Kent E. Carpenter, Laurence P. Madin, David Obura, Enric Sala, Sebastian Troëng, Peter A. Seligman & Stefan Gutermuth
The seven species of sea turtles found throughout the world’s tropical and temperate oceans are among the most charismatic of marine species. Since their first appearance on Earth some 110 million years ago, they have weathered drastic changes in climate, shifting continents, even surviving the dramatic events that left the dinosaurs extinct. Yet today, the fate of these great evolutionary survivors hangs in the balance. Six of the seven species are ranked within the Endangered categories of the IUCN Red List.
Sea turtles are found in nearly all ocean niches from near-shore habitats, seagrass pastures, and coral reefs where they forage and feed, to the open ocean, which they traverse in epic transoceanic migrations, and even the abyssal zones. Yet these consummate marine animals also remain tied to the land, since females must emerge to lay their eggs on tropical beaches.
This is an excerpt from the CEMEX Conservation Series Book Oceans: Heart of Our Blue Planet (2011)