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Hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with global populations demonstrating a decline of more than 80% over the past century (Troëng et al., 2005; Boden, 2008). Hawksbill sea turtles are one of the only vertebrate species that feed exclusively on sponges, relying on tropical coral reefs and their associated biodiversity for foraging grounds and shelter (Meylan, 1988; Eckert & Grobois, 2001). Coral reef ecosystems are directly threatened by ocean acidification, and may reach a point in the near future beyond which corals will no longer be the dominant benthic organisms (Hoegh-Guldberg et al., 2007; Veron, 2008). Species which supplement the hawksbill sea turtle’s diet may also be adversely affected due to their reliance on a high saturation state of aragonite and a stable pH, both of which will decline as emissions continue to rise (Kurihara, 2008). More research is needed on ecological and biological impacts of ocean acidification in order to understand how hawksbill sea turtles will respond or adapt to their changing environment.
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|Publisher||Indian Ocean Turtle Newsletter|
|CMS Instrument||IOSEA Marine Turtles|