chapter  11
32 Pages

Sea Turtle Population Ecology

Dynamics ....................................................................................................297 References ............................................................................................................299

Sea turtle population demographics reflect the effects of natural and anthropogenic stressors that include environmental variability, terrestrial habitat loss, terrestrial and aquatic habitat degradation, and direct and indirect fishing mortality (National Research Council, 1990; Lutcavage et al., 1997). New threats include increases in egg incubation temperatures (further skewing sex ratios, which are defined by incubation temperature) caused by global warming and loss of nesting habitat to rising sea levels on developed and armored beaches. In the marine system, accumulation of pollutants such as plastics, heavy metals, environmental estrogens, and oil products in pelagic nursery and demersal coastal habitats threaten juvenile and adult turtles of all species. In addition, sea turtles swim a gauntlet of fishing gear, including trawls, gill nets, pound nets, and longlines, as they migrate across