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Nitrogen Runoff: The Main Culprit Behind Green Sea Turtle Tumors

Photo Credit:
Peter Bennett & Ursula Keuper-Bennett/ Wikimedia Commons
Researchers from Duke University have recently published their study that linked nitrogen runoff from farming areas to a disease, fibropapillomatosis, which attacks green sea turtles with tumors on their faces, flippers and internal organs. A study done in Hawaii shows that excess nitrogen released from urban and farm activities is stored in seaweed in the form of arginine, an amino acid, which then accumulates in the body system of sea turtles that feed on the seaweed. Polluted waters, sea turtle tumors and an invasive red-algae species are all found to contain high levels of arginine. The finding is crucial to help boost better sea turtle conservation and coastal management, especially for those regions where these endangered species are living in, including Malaysia.
Date & Source: October 14, 2014, EcoWatch