Walking along the shore with your bare feet in the sand is a marvelous sensation. But sand is more than just a pleasant walking experience; it is the very beginning of the sea turtle food chain as well as the other aquatic animals that make their home beneath the oceans of the world.
Beach erosion and urban sprawl is the cause of vanishing shoreline taking along with it the sand that is the start of the aquatic food chain. The food chain identifies who eats what. There are many reasons why sand is not making it into the water where it needs to be including dams that cut off the flow of water from the mountains and seawalls which affect sand on the ground level.
Because the food chain is such a fragile entity, when one specific element is removed, it causes a ripple effect throughout the entire chain. The shallow tide pools are an important element in young marine creatures making it into adulthood. It is there they can find nourishment as well as shelter from the larger animals that prey upon them.
Not much is known about what happens to baby sea turtles if they make it past their initial travel to the sea, but you can expect that they find a safe haven where they can hide and forage for food so that they may grow into the giants who are more familiar to us. It is thought that they use the light of the moon to ride the wave crests safely above their predators to the safer environs of the shallows.
The Impact on the Sea Turtle Food Chain
When one species is impacted along the food chain, any species that is higher up is directly impacted. If the denizens of the sand are removed, then those that feed upon them will have nothing to eat, and so on it goes up the line. Sand plays an important part in many sea creatures breeding habits. Sea turtles swim to shore to lay their eggs deep in the sand and when their young hatch, they scramble to the waters to begin their journey. Many don’t make it for a variety of reasons such as the nest is covered by water at high tide because of beach erosion and they can become confused by the lights of housing developments mistaking it for moonlight.
Sea turtles eat a variety of foods including vegetation and small animal life. When the lower denizens of the food chain are affected, then in turn the larger sea animals are affected as well. Nature knew what she was doing when she created each and every creature, and all depend upon each other in order for an ecosystem to stay healthy and thriving.
Humans have so much to do with the sea turtle food chain as well as the food chain of many other creatures and it is time to look to ourselves to learn what can be done to lessen our effect on the natural world before there is nothing left but an empty landscape.