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Reproductive Health

The Issue: Environmental pollutants not only interfere with turtles’ habitats but can also have a negative impact on the reproductive health of the turtles. Certain chemicals are known to influence the natural cycle of sea turtles. Pollutants can contain molecules known as Endocrine Disruptors which are known to interfere with the hormone system in mammals, impacting reproduction. This can manifest in an inability to reproduce, unviable eggs or unhealthy infants. Sea turtles are susceptible to several diseases which can make reproduction a challenge, and there have been difficulties in the past in encouraging sea turtle reproduction. It is a slow process that only happens after the turtle reaches the age of twenty. As such it is integral to ensure that the reproductive health of the turtles is maximised if we hope to grow the population numbers and avoid sterility. What We Do: Our research into the reproductive health of turtles follows through every stage of the reproductive process. We use Laparoscopy to check the reproductive status of the turtles and ensure they are able to reproduce. Moreover, we monitor the health of the turtles through blood samples and observation in order to ascertain whether the turtle is healthy to reproduce or what defects it displays. We are doing further research into the endocrinology of sea turtle disease and how Endocrine Disruptor molecules influence hormone levels in turtles. Through our work we aim to determine the optimum conditions for reproduction, including nutrition and care. In doing this we believe we can move towards creating an environment that meets these requirements and so maximise the chances of reproduction occurring healthily.

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