Mary River turtle to be studied
MARIANA Campbell is spending the next few months studying the Mary River turtle.
The PhD student from the University of Queensland will be part of a team led by Professor Craig Franklin that will attach transmitters to the turtles and track their movements.
They are hoping to shed light on the biology and habitat and habits of the endangered species, about which very little is known.
Prof Franklin has been studying the turtle for six years and said the new study will be invaluable in uncovering more information about the turtle.
The existence of the turtle was only confirmed 15 years ago and, Prof Franklin said, in that time very little had been discovered about the turtle.
Prof Franklin said the university would be working in conjunction with Tiaro District Landcare in an effort to find out more about the species.
“It’s an amazing turtle,” he said.
“It’s one of the world’s most endangered species and it has the unusual ability of breathing through its backside.”
The impact the health of the river has on the turtle population would also be investigated, Prof Franklin said.
He said the health of the river was directly tied to the health of the species and that improving the health of the river was a key step in improving the health of the Mary River turtle.
Ms Campbell said she couldn’t wait to start work on the project.
“We will try to understand how these turtles behave in the wild,” she said.
“It’s a very important animal.
“Almost nothing is known about it.”
The turtle, which is the 20th most endangered fresh water turtle in the world, was an “adorable” creature, Ms Campbell said.
“We have to look after this animal.
“I’m hoping we can understand it a little bit more.”