Green sea turtle

Selina Heppell, Susan Piacenza

Latin name: Chelonia mydas

Green sea turtles are found throughout the world's tropical seas and have been an important food for people in many island and coastal nations. They feed on sea grasses and algae, and once served an important role as a primary herbivore in many marine ecosystems. Overharvest of green turtles and their eggs has resulted in many local declines and extirpations. Dr. Susan Piacenza worked with her advisor, Dr. Selina Heppell, on models to evaluate population recovery and management strategies in Hawaii.

Did you know? Green sea turtles are vegetarians, feeding on sea grasses and algae. The Hawaiian population of "honu" has been through a remarkable recovery, thanks to legislation that prohibited hunting and protection of nesting sites. The green turtle is still an important food source for many people in tropical coastal areas and islands.

More information


Piacenza, SE*, G Balazs, S Hargrove, and SS Heppell. In press. Trends and variability in demographic indicators of a recovering population of green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas). Endangered Species Research 31:103-117