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Marine biologist Dr. Wallace J. Nichols has worked tirelessly to preserve the world’s endangered sea turtles and raise awareness about our need to conserve our oceans. He just returned from a trip to Baja California’s Magdalena Bay, where he spent time in the field with fishermen who help preserve endangered sea turtles.

Through his BLUEMIND annual conferences he is helping us understand the role the ocean can play in our health and cognitive function. J. and I co-founded WiLDCOAST together in 1999. Today he is one of the the world’s most passionate and innovative ocean conservationists.

Dedina: In the past few years you’ve helped shed light on looking at connections between neuroscience and the ocean, which will be the subject of a new book you are writing. What are some of the insights you’ve gained into the new emerging field of neuroconservation?

Nichols:Our successes in Baja with sea turtles, apart from the mountain of scientific ecological research, depends heavily on the emotional commitment to saving the animals among the many people working so hard along the coast.

It’s said that conservation is really about managing people and changing behaviors. If we don’t understand what’s happening in the human brain, we’re really in the dark. So the idea of studying neuroscience has been on my mind for a long time. In recent years we’ve connected the best neuroscientists in the world with the best ocean advocates and explorers to ask some very interesting questions about “our brains on ocean.”

If Coca-Cola can use neuroscience to sell sugar water, we can use neuroscience for the ocean.

Dedina: You have your third BLUEMIND conference coming up. What is the purpose of the conference and why is it being held on the East Coast this year?

Nichols: Each year we hold BLUEMIND at a different location, with a slightly different general theme. This year the theme is “Last Child in the Water” and we’ll explore the role of water in healthy cognitive function. Holding the summit on Block Island makes it easy for our colleagues in New England to attend. We may jump the pond and take the conference to the UK in 2014.

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Posted in Turtles
CMA

International marine scientists warned it will be vital to protect key marine turtle nesting grounds, and areas that may be suitable for turtle nesting in the future, to ensure that the marine reptiles have a better chance of withstanding climate change.

A new study reveals that some turtle populations in the West Indian Ocean, Northeast Indian Ocean, North Pacific Ocean, East Atlantic Ocean and the East Pacific Ocean are among the least likely to recover from the impacts of climate change.

“To give marine turtles a better chance of coping with climate change, we have to protect their nesting sites and to address threats such as bycatch and coastal development,” says Dr Mariana Fuentes from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoECRS) and James Cook University.

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Posted in Turtles
CMA

“BREVARD COUNTY, FL —An endangered green sea turtle is on its way to SeaWorld Wednesday.

The turtle was found near Port Canaveral with fishing line wrapped around its neck.

Officials said they think it might have swallowed the fishing hook.

The animal was found stranded on some rocks by a fisherman.

The Sea Turtle Preservation Society is taking the animal to SeaWorld for rehabilitation.”

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Posted in Article, Turtles
CMA

By ANGELA HARVEY

“BALTIMORE — Sea turtle number 32 had a small part of its front left flipper amputated last week because a joint lesion has not healed since the reptile was brought to the National Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program in November.

“It’s an infection in the joint so we don’t want it to spread and then have to amputate the entire flipper,” said Amber White, a husbandry aide. “As you can image that would impair his swimming ability.”

The surgery on Friday went well. Number 32 has stitches in the flipper and has resumed its normal swimming activities, while stitches on the turtle’s front right flipper are healing well after a similar amputation was done at the animal care center in January.

Number 32 was found stranded off the coast of Cape Cod, Mass., White said. Its rehabilitation carries high stakes because it is a Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle, the smallest and most critically endangered species of sea turtles.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined the Kemp’s Ridley turtle’s nesting numbers started declining dramatically after 1947, reaching a low of 702 nests in 1985. Since the mid-1980s, the number of nests laid in a season has been increasing. There were 20,800 documented nest in 2011. This increase is attributed to nest protection efforts and regulations requiring the use of turtle excluder devices in commercial fishing trawls.

Sea turtles were in the public eye last week when more than 1,000 scientists, researchers, conservationists, lawmakers and students from 80 different countries came to Baltimore for the 33rd Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation, said Dr. Ray Carthy, president of the International Sea Turtle Society and assistant unit leader of the Florida Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit.

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Posted in Article, Turtles