Guardians of The Sea: How Sea Turtles Keep Our Beaches and Oceans Alive

Guardians of The Sea: How Sea Turtles Keep Our Beaches and Oceans Alive

We can probably all agree that sea turtles might be one of the most gentle marine life to be around. From their prehistoric majestic presence to their effortless glide that suggests they truly know how to enjoy life, we are fascinated by these creatures that seem to leave us wanting more of their calming presence.


But as cute as they are, did you know we actually need them for our own survival? They are crucial to marine ecosystems so let’s dive into three fascinating facts about these ancient mariners.


1. Beach Erosion Prevention & Stabilizers:

In Costa Rica, I was humbled by a nighttime experience watching a mother green sea turtle crawl out from the water and go 60 feet uphill until she found a perfect spot to start her digging. I learned that in doing so, sea turtles end up contributing to beach ecosystems and preventing beach erosion. The digging activities of sea turtles help aerate the sand, promoting oxygen penetration and making the environment more suitable for vegetation growth.

Aerated sand is less compact and more conducive to the growth of vegetation, while the redistribution of sand during the nesting process also helps to maintain the natural contours and structure of the beach, preventing uneven erosion.

By constantly shifting and mixing the sand, sea turtles contribute to a more resilient beach structure and help many of these coastal plants to thrive. 


 "Hello World"

The nutrients and organic matter from unhatched eggs and eggshells support plant life. The organic matter from decomposed eggs enriches the sand, further supporting plant life. Without sea turtles, many of these coastal plants might not thrive, leading to increased erosion and the loss of valuable beachfronts.


2. Carbon Sequestration:

Think of sea turtles as the gardeners of the sea. They keep underwater meadows called seagrass beds in check by grazing on them, promoting growth and providing habitats for other marine species.

Seagrass beds are like the Amazon rainforest of the ocean, absorbing large amounts of CO2 and therefore reducing it from the atmosphere. Continuously trimming seagrass allows for even more carbon to be stored. In this way, sea turtles help maintain a harmonious balance in our ecosystem by indirectly fighting climate change. Their grazing ensures that seagrass meadows stay healthy and productive, which is crucial for carbon sequestration.



3. Ocean Health Indicators & Balanced Food Web:

Sea turtles play a significant role in maintaining healthy ocean ecosystems. Did you know that the presence or absence of sea turtles can be an indicator of the health of marine ecosystems, guiding conservation efforts? Sea turtles help control the population of jellyfish by preying on them.

An overabundance of jellyfish can lead to a decline in fish populations, as jellyfish compete with fish for food and eat fish eggs. By keeping jellyfish numbers in check, sea turtles help maintain a balanced food web and ensure the survival of a variety of marine species.


 "Delicate Balance"

Sea turtles also contribute to nutrient cycling in the ocean. When they feed on sponges, seagrass, and other marine organisms, they excrete nutrients that promote the growth of plankton, which forms the base of the ocean food chain. This nutrient cycling is essential for the productivity and health of marine ecosystems.

Sea turtles are not just gentle, majestic creatures; they are vital to the health of our planet. From preventing beach erosion and stabilizing coastlines to aiding in carbon sequestration and maintaining balanced marine ecosystems, sea turtles play a crucial role in our environment. 

Protecting sea turtles is not just about preserving a species, it's about safeguarding the health and balance of our planet.

By understanding and appreciating these hidden roles of sea turtles, we can better advocate for their conservation and ensure that they continue to glide gracefully through our oceans, contributing to the health of our environment for generations to come.

When you support ocean-inspired art, you're also becoming a guardian of the sea and making a huge impact on our ecosystem. 5% of every purchase you make goes to 1 of 4 ocean conservation organizations. Find out how you're helping HERE.