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Sea Turtles

Sea Turtles
James R. Spotila
Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004
QL666 .C536 S69 2004

Sea Turtles have been swimming in the world's oceans for more than a hundred million years. Having escaped the mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs, however, these graceful, long-lived reptiles face a host of new dangers today that threaten their survival - among them fishing, pollution, and the destruction of their nesting grounds. Will this century be the last to witness their majesty? Will succeeding generations live in a world devoid of their presence?

Biologist James R. Spotila has spent his career studying these magnificent creatures and working to ensure their survival. A pioneer in the field of sea turtle research, Spotila has made key contributions to our understanding of their physiology, their behavior, and the threats they face. He was part of the team that successfully attached a radio transmitter to a sea turtle for the first time; was the first to recognize the impending disappearance of leatherbacks from the Pacific Ocean; and was the first to document the connection between sex determination and nest temperature.

Spotila draws on a lifetime of experience and knowledge to offer a comprehensive and compelling account of sea turtle evolutionary history, physiology, life cycle, and behavior. In addition, he provides an insider perspective on the worldwide conservation efforts being made on behalf of sea turtles. Illustrated with breathtaking images by the world's leading nature photographers, Sea Turtles opens with an informative overview of the seven species, from diet and mating habits to the female turtle's epic journey to lay her eggs on the same beach where she herself hatched years before. Spotila then devotes individual chapters to each of the species of sea turtle: the Kemp's ridley, the smallest species, which nests on a single beach on Mexico's Gulf Coast; the similarly-sized but more geographically diverse olive ridley; the grass-eating green turtle; the hawksbill, which feeds almost exclusively on sea sponges; the loggerhead, upon whose shell algae, barnacles, clams and other ocean life make their home; the distinctively shaped flatback, which nests on beaches in northern Australia; and the giant, nomadic leatherback, which can grow to eight feet and weigh a ton.

Combining riveting prose, up-to-the-minute science, and beautiful photography, Sea Turtles is an indispensable guide to these truly remarkable animals.

Quoted from dust jacket.