The Issue: Sea turtle habitats, including the nesting, feeding and migratory areas which are essential to them, are facing increasing threats. Dangers include coastal development, artificial lighting, and marine pollution, all of which destabilize turtles’ habitats. Offshore reefs are being destroyed through human activity and this also has an effect on the sea turtles’ ecosystem. If the sea turtles do not have a suitable place to lay and hatch their eggs in safety this can impact the population. It is important to establish MPAs (Marine Protected Areas) which are large areas of seas and oceans that cannot be affected by human interference, and so provide a safe place for the turtles to exist. MPAs are created in order to aid conservation of species through the limitation of the development, fishing practices and disturbance of marine life in a particular area. It is essential to ensure that these areas are established to maintain the marine populations.
What We Do:Our research looks to identify the nesting sites of turtles around Hainan in order that these sites can be protected. We hope to use evidence of turtle nesting sites to encourage the growth of MPAs around the island and throughout the South China Seas. Our work in locating the habitat of turtles is carried out through satellite tagging. There are two types of tags that we use, internal and external. There are benefits to both and in tandem they can give us a clear picture of the regions that the turtle population is inhabiting. We hope that by being able to present proof of where the turtle population is based we can protect the vital areas from interference.