Debris ingestion by juvenile marine turtles: An underestimated problem

Marine turtles are an iconic group of endangered animals threatened by debris ingestion. However, key aspects related to debris ingestion are still poorly known, including its effects on mortality and the original use of the ingested debris. Therefore, we analysed the impact of debris ingestion in 265 green turtles (Chelonia mydas) over a large geographical area and different habitats along the Brazilian coast. We determined the death rate due to debris ingestion and quantified the amount of debris that is sufficient to cause the death of juvenile green turtles. Additionally, we investigated the original use of the ingested debris. We found that a surprisingly small amount of debris was sufficient to block the digestive tract and cause death. We suggested that debris ingestion has a high death potential that may be masked by other causes of death. An expressive part of the ingested debris come from disposable and short-lived products.

 

Robson Guimarães Santos, Ryan Andrades, Marcillo Altoé Boldrini, Agnaldo Silva Martins, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 93, Issues 1–2, Pages 37–43, 15 April 2015

The article

 

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