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Western Sydney University has contributed to new Australian research into native turtle populations in the Murray River and some of its associated waterways. The study finds that species are in decline in the lower Murray River region, and some were undetected in many locations in South Australia.
According to Associate Professor of Ecology Ricky Spencer (opens in new window) from the School of Science and Health at Western Sydney University and a School-based member of Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, the decline was first predicted over 30 years ago but a combination of funding limitations, political constraints, and limited data has pushed our native species to the brink of extinction.
Time - Research - Field - Look - Populations
"This is the first time research in the field takes such as deep and systematic look at turtle populations throughout the southern Murray River catchment, to identify likely hotspots of turtle declines and map geographic trends in turtle population," says Associate Professor Spencer. "Our research provides further evidence that freshwater turtle populations in southern Australia are rapidly declining. Even in areas where they are abundant, most populations have only older adults, resulting in few babies entering the river."
The research assessed the conservation status of the three native species—the broad-shelled turtle (Chelodina expansa), eastern long-necked turtle (C. longicollis), and Murray River turtle (Emydura macquarii).
Data - Populations - Species - Region - Victoria
The data indicates that populations of the three species were generally highest in the mid-Murray region, reaching from north-central Victoria and south-central New South Wales. Overall turtle abundance decreases as the Murray River approaches the ocean, resulting...
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