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J. Nichols '89 Bemoans Loss of Sea Turtles in Santa Cruz Sentinel Op-Ed

J. Nichols '89 Bemoans Loss of Sea Turtles in Santa Cruz Sentinel Op-Ed

July 7, 2008

J Nichols Waterside.jpgJuly 7, 2008, Greencastle, Ind. - "In a recent New York Times blog covering the race, journalist Andy Revkin dared pose the question, 'Do we need sea turtles?' The responses have been passionate and thought-provoking, but inconclusive," writes Wallace J. Nichols, senior research scientist at Ocean Conservancy and 1989 graduate of DePauw University. Dr. Nichols, who has conducted groundbreaking research on the migration of sea turtles, contributes an op-ed to California's Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Nichols adds, "For me, Revkin's query misses the point, begging more important and more provocative questions: Do we need all-you-can-eat shrimp dinners and swordfish steaks that kill so much ocean wildlife? Are endangered sea turtles worth saving at the cost of a few luxury items? How much do we really need?"

The essay continues, "As a scientist, I understand we know little about the ecological roles of sea turtles. The turtle populations we study are a mere tenth of their former abundance. Stories from before the age of synthetic nets J Nichols Turtle Kiss.jpgand outboard motors read like science fiction: clippers cutting through seas full of floating sea turtles, fish being raked into boats and psychedelic reefs exploding with life. In ways we will never fully appreciate, each lost species weakens us all, but the loss of sea turtles goes far deeper than the loss of a single thread in the fabric of life."

Read the complete op-ed at the newspaper's Web site.

Nichols, who goes by his middle initial, had an op-ed published last month in the San Jose Mercury News. He appears in Leonardo DiCaprio's documentary, The 11th Hour and was one of nine "eco-all-stars" cited in the March 2008 issue of Outside magazine.