Marc Schlossman


Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), FMNH no. 58. Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago. Conservation status: critically endangered. Leatherbacks are distributed worldwide. The primary threats to Leatherbacks are the harvesting of eggs from nests on beaches and incidental capture in fisheries but ultimately, climate change could have the most adverse effects. Nesting surveys are the best tool for judging the staus of this species and nesting activity has declined by an average of 70% in one generation. Nesting sites are also under threat by rising sea levels. Rising sand temperatures may affect sex ratios because hatchling gender is determined by incubation temperature, where warmer nests result in more females. Ingestion of plastic oceanic pollution is a problem because leatherbacks mistake the trash for jellyfish. Many conservation efforts are in effect, including protection of nesting sites and devices attached to shrimp nets that help prevent accidental capture. As leatherbacks migrate across territorial waters and the high seas, international collaboration is essential to monitor the status of the species.

Object Name
Marc Schlossman
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