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Sea turtles are a barometer of marine ecosystem health.
Sea turtles contribute to maintaining species diversity, and ultimately, the health of our oceans. They eat ocean jellies (jellyfish), preventing the large “blooms” that are negatively impacting fisheries, recreation and other marine activities. They keep sponge populations in check, thereby providing more habitat for growing corals. And sea grass beds that sea turtles graze are more productive than those that are not.
Florida’s 663 miles of beaches, tropical climate and warm waters year-round create a great habitat for sea turtles, providing them with abundant food and great nesting beaches. Unfortunately, our love and use of this habitat is making it difficult for turtles to thrive. Given the cumulative changes to their habitat from development, entanglement in trash, altered feeding grounds and being caught by mistake —even off fishing piers in Tampa Bay – all seven sea turtle species are threatened globally.
From veterinarians and lab technicians to biologists, educators and volunteers, our amazing sea turtle rescue team has already rescued and returned to the sea more than 150 sea turtles. A member of the Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network (STSSN) for the Southeast Coast and the Gulf of Mexico, The Florida Aquarium also invests in public outreach, education and research.
The key areas of our work in Tampa Bay or the Gulf of Mexico include:
Our partners include:
While measures have been put in place to stem the loss of these ancient, important sea creatures, we must do more. We need to ensure they exist in large enough numbers to be ecologically effective. Please help us complete our sea turtle hospital and expand our outreach efforts.
Phone: (813) 273-4000