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Nursing ecosystems back to health

It’s not just pristine sand and blue seas but a spectacular underwater world with rare sea turtles that draws visitors to the Caribbean. But, the tourism boom is having unintended consequences. Large cruise ships, overfishing and the dumping of waste in the ocean are wiping out the marine creatures on the island of St. Lucia as reporter Anja Kimmig discovered. One project is working with local communities to protect the sea turtles which play an important role in the entire ecosystem. So, if they are well and thriving, their natural surroundings are in good health too. Such ‘indicator species’ provide vital clues to researchers about the kinds of changes taking place in an ecosystem, making them a useful monitoring and forecasting tool as writer Rachel Stern reports in our background article.

Global Ideas explains

Why do oceans turn acidic? 

Next week on Global Ideas

The great species count

Just how rich is the natural diversity of our planet? For two weeks, Global ideas is to focus on how environmentalists and scientists around the world are observing, monitoring, quantifying and documenting biodiversity. In our special, we accompany researchers on their adventures to the world’s most remote corners.