Much is not understood about the complex marine ecosystem that sea turtles around the world inhabit. What is for certain according to the Watamu Turtle Watch however is the realisation that the turtle plays a vital role in this system.
The green turtle feeds on sea grass that if left unchecked will grow to alarming levels and disrupt grass beds that are critical for many species of fish that use them to plant their eggs and increase their chance of survival.
Another turtle species, Hawkbill turtles, feed on toxic sponges found in the underwater thus helping to create gaps that are needed by different sea species to build on reefs as well as those fish who feed from the reefs but cannot penetrate the body of the sponge.
Hawksbills and loggerheads feed on sea urchins who if left unchecked could quickly multiply thus damaging the already fragile sea bed which as indicated above is vital for nesting and feeding for hundreds of sea creatures. In this case, the sea turtles help to stabilise the ecosystem to which they are a part by creating and protecting what hundreds of thousands of visitors come to see every year at Kenya’s marine parks.
In this case, the sea turtles help to stabilise the ecosystem to which they are a part by creating and protecting what hundreds of thousands of visitors come to see every year at Kenya’s marine parks.
The vibrant underwood of the sea is able to flourish as each part of the ecosystem plays its designated role, the sea turtles being undeniably vital for a normalised ecosystem and the completion of the life cycle.
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By Benjamin Wafula
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