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Green Sea Turtle

Michele Westmorland

Named after the green color of the fat found beneath its shell, the green sea turtle spends much of its 80-year lifespan plying the tropical and subtropical waters of the world’s oceans. Unlike other sea turtles, green sea turtles are mostly herbivores, feeding off seagrass that grows in shallow lagoons. The waters and beaches of Hawai`i are the turtle’s most important habitat in the US, but minor nesting sites can also be found along the coast of Florida.

Climate Change Impacts

Although they spend most of their lives in the water, all sea turtles must return to the beaches to lay their eggs. Rising sea levels from global warming may submerge many of the beaches the green sea turtle relies on. Temperature also helps determine the gender of incubating eggs. Warmer temperatures swing the balance toward female turtles, which upsets the gender balance of not only green sea turtles, but other endangered turtle species as well.