Explore the wetlands and lakes in and around Melbourne to help determine the population status of our local freshwater turtles.
Few people realize that both short-necked and long-necked turtles are living in their own local wetland or pond. Yet, despite how close they are to us, very little is known about Melbourne’s freshwater turtles, and particularly the impact that the growing city is having on their health. As turtles are among the top predators in the food chain, a healthy turtle population points to a healthy ecosystem, but globally, freshwater turtles are in decline.
On this one-day team, you’ll wade through the city’s freshwater lakes and creeks to capture turtles, assess their health, and review the condition of their habitat. You’ll have a hands-on experience measuring features such as the length, width, and depth of the turtles’ carapace (shell). You’ll learn how to determine a turtle’s sex and species. You’ll measure the pH, salinity, and soluble organic content of the water, which help determine the health of the ecosystem. Last, you’ll catch and identify the tadpoles and macroinvertebrates living in the water, the food source for the turtles. The data you collect will help scientists and governments answer the pivotal question: how is urbanization impacting the survival of Melbourne’s turtles and how can we prevent negative impacts?