Sea turtles occupy a very special biological niche in our world. And we still know relatively little about these creatures, one of the very few marine reptiles on the face of the planet. But as population growth and activity on coasts has exploded, so have our encounters with sea turtles… including, unfortunately, those that cause injury and disease. So what advances in technology and healthcare are helping us treat these incredible, 150 million year old animals—and what are we learning about them as a result? Max Polyak, Director of Rehabilitation at Loggerhead Marine Life Center in Juno Beach, Florida, shares with Bio Eats World host Hanne Winarsky the new advances in science and technology that are helping us treat sea turtles when they get sick or injured—and the new understanding about their biology, their behavior, and how they interact with the world around them those advances are leading to.
The conversation covers everything from treating boat injuries with sea turtle-specific prosthetics; to using cutting edge human therapeutics on these animals in new ways; to the unique immune systems of these 2,000 pound leatherbacks (immune systems that have dealt with dinosaurs! meteor strikes! ice ages! and more); to how the microbiome of the sea turtle may answer one of the most intriguing mysteries about how these turtles behave; to ultimately, what sea turtle health can teach us about how we are all linked—and about the health of the entire ocean.