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Tracking tiny turtles at Tiaro

University of Queensland researcher Mariana Campbell and Tiaro Landcare volunteers release young turtles carrying tiny transmitters on their backs into the Mary River.
University of Queensland researcher Mariana Campbell and Tiaro Landcare volunteers release young turtles carrying tiny transmitters on their backs into the Mary River. Contributed

A PARTNERSHIP between University of Queensland researchers and the Tiaro Landcare Group has seen the release of very young tagged freshwater turtles with transmitters.

Mariana Campbell, who is researching the Mary River turtle for her PhD, said never before had technology allowed such young turtles to be tagged.

“That was a big achievement to release such young Mary River turtles with transmitters,” Ms Campbell said.

“This is the first study of acoustic tagging of such small turtles. It was only possible with the financial support of Tiaro Landcare who paid for the tags.

“Plus it is only now that the technology has improved to develop such small tags which make this study so novel.”

Tiaro Landcare Group president Ron Black said watching the little turtles run down into the river with their little black transmitters on their backs was an amazing experience.

“Finally after so many years of protecting nests we have a chance to find out what is happening to these endangered turtles,” Mr Black said.

“Working with researchers from the University of Queensland has opened up many more opportunities than we could do on our own.

“They have access to sophisticated hi-tech equipment and knowledge that is beyond the scope of our local community.”

Money used to purchase the tags was raised through the sale of chocolate turtles which are hand-made by Landcare volunteers.

Each Easter, Ergon Energy Green Teams throughout Queensland assist by purchasing the chocolates.

“Without the support of Ergon and their staff, we wouldn’t be able to fund this project. We are lucky to have such a great partnership which has lasted many years,” Tiaro Landcare treasurer Carol Neilsen said.

It is hoped that the information gained from tracking such young turtles will be very beneficial in knowing which parts of the river they use and assist in management of the river.

Topics:  research tags technology university of queensland

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