The Issue: Due to human interference such as water pollution, dredging and other behavioursthat disturb the sea bed, there have been many changes to the ecological conditions essential to the marine life. One of these changes is a severe decrease in the amount of sea grass growing around Hainan. Besides jellyfish and small fish, sea grass is a major component of the sea turtles’ diet. The adult Green Turtle in particular mainly subsists on this plant. Clearly the loss of this vital food source will impact the turtle population and there is a risk of starvation. What’s more the loss of sea grass has a wider impact on the ecosystem as a whole and the loss of this grass could destabilise the balance of the ecosystem. The grass is the habitat for many species of fish which are also integral to the ocean system. Furthermore, photosynthesis carried out by the sea grass reduces carbon dioxide levels, this can help counter climate change. Finally, the sea grass tracks dirt and sand in the water, meaning that the seas could be a clearer turquoise!
What We Do: Our work in ecological restoration primarily involves the planting of sea grass beds in the waters around the island. This should help sustain the natural balance and help to maintain the ecosystem necessary for the sea turtles and other marine life. We hope that by doing this we are providing a food source for the turtles and can encourage them to remain in Hainan. We believe that such work could in the future help boost the local sea turtle population. We are also carrying out research on the sea grass in order to increase its resilience to the human activities and natural causes that can destroy this habitat.