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First Ever Map of Floating Plastic Aims to Save Baby Sea Turtles (Slideshow)

First Ever Map of Floating Plastic Aims to Save Baby Sea Turtles (Slideshow)
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Written by Jaymi Heimbuch

A PhD student at The University of Western Australia is working on an ambitious project. Julia Reisser, who has studied sea turtles for the last nine years, wants to create the first map that shows distribution of floating marine plastics in Australian waters. That map will be overlapped with information about pathways of sea turtle hatchlings, and hopefully will shed light on where the most dangerous areas for growing sea turtles may exist.

“The early life of sea turtles occurs at the ocean’s surface, where there’s an increasing amount of floating plastics that are proving fatal to hatchlings,” PhD student Julia Reisser says in an article from University of Western Australia. “My work is identifying the places contributing most to the increase in plastics in Australia’s oceans and how this links to sea turtle life cycles.”

The problem of plastic pollution in our oceans cannot be understated. Many marine species mistake the plastic for food, which can be lethal. A bit of floating plastic could look a lot like the jellyfish Green sea turtles munch on. Mistaking plastics for food has devastating consequences, causing internal damage or starvation.

The idea of creating a map of floating plastic is exciting, but also extremely challenging. One of the biggest issues behind marine plastic pollution is that it is extremely hard to quantify and understand because the ocean is so vast and forever moving, carrying plastics with it. Luckily, though, researchers like Reisser are not giving up, and her research could mean a lot of saving sea turtles. Six of the seven sea turtle species on earth are listed as threatened or endangered, so the more we can do to help hatchlings reach adulthood, the better.

This post was originally published by TreeHugger.


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Stop The Reptile and Amphibian Extinction Crisis


Look! A slideshow of baby turtles!

First photo: jimmyweee; second photo: jemasmith via flickr

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6:52AM PST on Feb 11, 2013

As Christina C. asks, Where IS the map!!!

5:54PM PST on Feb 10, 2013

We need to stop plastic pollution in the oceans.

1:34PM PST on Feb 8, 2013

Pete hit it on the nail.Recyclable glass or refillable needs to be reinstated instead of plastic. Plastic is poison

10:54PM PST on Jan 24, 2013

Thank you, Julia Reisser!

6:26AM PST on Dec 18, 2012

Thank you TreeHugger, for Sharing this!

3:18PM PDT on Oct 5, 2012

It's we who need to start picking up other people's rubbish and making sure we are responsible for the products we make that give a person a wage to live on. Put your rubbish in the bin, don't throw it out the car or leave it on the beach or st.

12:59AM PDT on Jul 9, 2012

If only there was a way to remove the plastic from our oceans...

5:21PM PDT on Jul 2, 2012

nice photos :)

11:18AM PDT on Jun 23, 2012

As always, our choice on what to use should be made on what is friendlier to our planet.

With that being said....... Reduce, Reuse Recycle!

3:57AM PDT on Jun 20, 2012

Where's the map?

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