"Estuaries such as Long Island Sound are among the most valuable ecosystems in the world. The Sound supports diverse marine life, including most of the fish and shellfish we value as food ..."

– Connecticut Sea Grant

Conservation & Research

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Long Island Sound Fun Fact

Long Island Sound is 113 miles long, 21 miles wide (at its widest) and holds about 18 trillion gallons of water. Its average depth is 63 feet – which is just a little deeper than the height of our IMAX screen! Can you fathom that?!

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Common Name: Green sea turtle

Latin Name:  Chelonia mydas

Size/weight:  Green turtles are the largest of all the hard-shelled sea turtles. They can grow up to 4 feet long and 400+ pounds.

Range: Tropical and sub-tropical waters around the world. In the western Atlantic, as far north as Massachusetts (including Long Island Sound) in summers. Nesting occurs in over 80 countries.

Habitat:  Primarily coastal areas, where they’ll find the plants they eat. 

Diet: Adult green turtles are unique among sea turtles in that they eat only plants; they are herbivorous, feeding primarily on seagrasses and algae. This diet is thought to give them greenish-colored fat, from which they take their name.

Predators:  Newly hatched turtles are vulnerable to everything from raccoons and gulls to crabs and large fish. Some sharks may prey on adult sea turtles.

Description: Heart-shaped shell, small head and single-clawed flippers. Color will vary. The top shell (or carapace) is smooth with shades of black, gray, green, brown, and yellow; the bottom shell (or plastron) is yellowish white. Oxygen reserves allow them to dive without surfacing for 30 minutes and even sleep underwater for more than two hours without breathing.

Conservation Note:  Breeding populations in Florida & on Mexico’s Pacific coast are endangered. All other populations are threatened. Despite conservation agreements around the globe, the main threats remain the over-harvesting of eggs and adults, and from accidental mortality in the nets and long-lines of fishing and shrimping fleets.Artificial lights confuse the ocean-bound babies, causing them to lose their way. Real estate development eliminates their nesting habitat. And cast-off plastic bags, fishing line and other trash can suffocate, strangle or otherwise harm the animals.

See them in the Sea Turtle exhibit »