The first comprehensive in-water survey of turtle populations in the U.S. Pacific has shown a promising increase in the number of endangered green sea turtles over time.
The thirteen-year study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, drew together data from 3,400 hawksbills and green turtles across 53 islands, atolls, and reefs throughout the Pacific region.
“This study represents one of the largest sea turtle population surveys ever conducted, filling critical gaps on in-water abundance and drivers of population density,” says one of the authors of the study, Sarah Becker of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, California.
The population of the long-endangered sea turtles was shown to be either stable or to have increased within the thirteen years that the survey was conducted. The Hawaiian Islands showed the lowest density yet highest annual population growth, likely thanks to the protective regulations aimed at recovering green turtle populations.