Because of their complex life history, sea turtles face a myriad of threats in both terrestrial and marine habitats, including interactions with fisheries, coastal development, direct take, climate change, and pollution and pathogens. These threats have been identified among the priority areas for sea turtle research and conservation, with studies on pollutants and pathogens (and parasites) at the intersection of environmental health, climate change, and population viability. Pathogens influence developing embryos, emerging hatchlings, and nesting adults in the beach environment, and post-hatchlings through to adults occupying in-water habitats. The primary pollutants affecting sea turtles are marine debris, microplastics, toxins, nutrient runoff, artificial light, and anthropogenic noise. Lastly, parasites have received less focus than pollutants and pathogens but are no less important, potentially acting as vectors for pathogens and early indicators of environmental change.
The aim of this Research Topic is to highlight research that moves beyond baseline data and addresses the conservation implications of pathogens, pollutants, and parasites for sea turtles in different life stages, habitats, and geographic scales. Articles in the collection will address previously identified knowledge gaps in their impacts on individual sea turtle health and population viability, the contribution of environmental factors, etiology and epidemiology of disease, tools to understand health status and disease pathogenesis, and the outcomes of management and/or mitigation strategies.
We invite submissions related to the following areas of study in sea turtles, especially from geographic regions which are currently underrepresented in the literature:
• pollutants (terrestrial and marine debris, chemical toxins, nutrient runoff, light, noise, etc)
• baseline health
• risk analysis
• environmental health
Submissions may be original research articles, systematic reviews, methods articles, review articles, mini reviews, policy and practice reviews, hypothesis and theory articles, perspective articles, or brief research reports. See here
for further information on article types.