Ecology of the Mary River Turtle, Elusor macrurus

Flakus, Samantha Pauline. (2003). Ecology of the Mary River Turtle, Elusor macrurus PhD Thesis, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland.

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Author Flakus, Samantha Pauline.
Thesis Title Ecology of the Mary River Turtle, Elusor macrurus
Formatted title
Ecology of the Mary River Turtle, Elusor macrurus
School, Centre or Institute School of Biological Sciences
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2003
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Prof Gordon Grigg
Total pages 119
Collection year 2003
Language eng
Subjects L
270702 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology)
770300 Marine Environment
Formatted abstract

The Mary River turtle, Elusor macrurus, is a species of high conservation concern. Results from nesting surveys indicate that its breeding population has significantly declined by 95% since 1974. Today, high levels of goanna and fox depredation have been identified as the primary cause of low recruitment rates. Past commercial egg harvest, however, has also contributed to this and a delayed impact on the population structure is now obvious with very few sub-adult turtles in the population.

E. macrurus is a temperate-zone species. They breed during spring and summer. During the nesting season E. macrurus can move up to 2km to nest on 'preferred' sandy banks rather than vegetated banks. As a juvenile, E. macrurus is primarily carnivorous, but shift to a more herbivorous diet as an adult.

The data presented within clearly show the need for future active management. Recommended conservation and management strategies include the reassessment of the status of
E. macrurus from vulnerable to endangered, the development of a species recovery program, further research on other aspects of E. macrurus' life history such as growth and survivorship and diving physiology, and the introduction of an incubation and head-start program to maximize incubation success and hatchling survivorship.

Keyword Turtles -- Ecology -- Australia

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses (non-RHD) - UQ staff and students only
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Created: Fri, 24 Aug 2007, 18:05:49 EST