- This event has passed.
Effects of urbanisation on the Oblong turtle
6 November, 7:30 pm-9:30 pm
Land use modification, climate drying, and invasive species threaten the oblong turtle (Chelodina oblonga), a freshwater species endemic to south-western Australia. The extent of impact of these stressors on C. oblonga is not known but likely includes increased wildlife-vehicle incidents and predation, and reduced availability and quality of nesting and aquatic habitat.
Anthony Santoro is a Ph.D. candidate at Murdoch University, Western Australia. His research focusses on the oblong turtle. He started his research career with a first-class Honours in Environmental Science, determining the effect of land use change on turtles. His current Ph.D. research seeks to identify how stressors such as climate change and urbanisation affect the survivorship, recruitment and population viability of C. oblonga in Perth’s urban wetlands. Anthony uses a mixture of field observations, tracking technologies and modelling to investigate how these stressors may be altering the turtle’s ecology.
We’ll hear about Anthony’s use of radio-telemetry over two annual cycles to track 50 female turtles in urban wetlands experiencing a continuum of water regimes and a variety of surrounding terrestrial land use modification. Nest predation and turtle corpses were also recorded. Although it was hypothesised that the species would move seasonally among the wetlands, the study revealed limited movement between wetlands, with turtles aestivating rather than migrating. Continued climate drying will have implications for population viabilities if individuals do not migrate to more suitable wetlands as hydrology changes. Land use modification is placing pressure on the populations through considerable mortality due to vehicle strikes, mostly of nesting females. Feral animal predation was also a major issue affecting both adults and embryos, significantly reducing the populations reproductive potential. The presence of the European red fox (Vulpes vulpes) was confirmed using wildlife cameras. These results indicate that urgent management of turtle populations based on a detailed understanding of their ecology and interactions is needed for these urban ecosystems.