Northeast Brazil Shelf Marine

About the Area

The Northeast Brazil Shelf Marine ecoregion combines a wide continental shelf (up to 350 kilometers) and low levels of freshwater to allow for a variety of habitats including mangrove forests, fringing and barrier reefs, and the only atoll in the South Atlantic Ocean, Atol das Rocas.
Where the shelf narrows in the central section of this ecoregion, the substrate consists almost entirely of carbonate sediments and is impacted by the South Equatorial Current.

The wide Abrolhos Bank of the east Brazil shelf forms a physical barrier to the Brazil Current, so upwelling and land conditions create even more diversity.

Taken together, these physical conditions create a diversity of shelf types, which in turn house a large variety of species.

Local Species
This region provides a tropical breeding ground for Humpback whales (Megaptera noveangliae) and the smalleye hammerhead (Sphyrna tudes).

Several species of marine turtles exist in these waters, including the breeding Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) and Green turtles (Chelonia mydas), Hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), Olive ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea), and Loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta).

Threats
Overfishing, destructive fishing practices, and development threaten the reefs across this ecoregion. Recreational activities and tourism further damage the integrity of the reef ecosystem.

Resources

Size:
N/A

Habitat type:
Tropical Coral

Geographic Location:
Northeastern Brazil, south of the Amazon River delta

Conservation Status:
Vulnerable

Quiz Time!

Are Green turtles herbivorous?

Answer:
Adult green turtles are the only herbivorous sea turtles, feeding mainly on seagrasses or algae, mostly in the tropics and subtropics, but juveniles are assumed to be omnivorous to allow for their high growth rates. There is probably a gradual transition to herbivory, once the turtle is large enough to escape predators.

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