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Marine Turtles

Description: 

Key biological indices required to understand and manage nesting marine turtles along the Kimberley coast

Other Details: 

Kimberley Marine Research Program: Project 1.2.2
Location: Kimberley Coast
Project Leader: Scott Whiting, DBCA
Telephone: 9219 9752
Email: Scott.Whiting@DBCA.wa.gov.au

Final Report

Marine Turtles in the Kimberley_WAMSI KMRP Report 1.2.2_Whiting et al 2018

Project Summary

Projects Aims

  • Identify when and where turtles nest in the Kimberley
  • Develop climate change models to predict how turtles might be impacted
  • Work out relationships between different turtle nesting groups (genetics)

Proposed Methods

  • Record and photograph nesting along the Kimberley coast during the wet and dry season from the air using a small plane and a special digital camera
  • Visit beaches and islands to verify the aerial survey records and collect information on species, size and hatching success (select beaches in west, central and eastern Kimberley)
  • Deploy weather stations and loggers to measure nest temperatures to enable prediction of impacts to turtles through climate change
  • Collect a piece of skin from turtles to work out relationships between groups of nesting turtles
  • Work in collaboration/partnership with Indigenous communities in the Kimberley including training with some funds available for engagement and training

Project Duration 2013-2016

Proposed location for the project

  • Aerial flights over the entire Kimberley Coast
  • Visit beaches in the western central and eastern Kimberley to deploy temperature loggers and count track and collect information on feral animals and hatching success

Outcomes

  • Better overall knowledge of where and when turtles nest to enable impacts to be managed (developments, tourism etc.)
  • Provide a knowledge base to allow monitoring of turtles into the future – information to help understand if populations are going up or down
  • Develop effective and efficient monitoring methods that can be conducted over the long-term
  • Prediction of impacts of climate change
  • Define management units (what scale should management be aimed at)
  • Build capacity amongst Indigenous rangers groups to allow ongoing monitoring opportunities

Longer term goals beyond the life of the project

To develop a long term monitoring program in the Kimberley in cooperation and partnership with Indigenous groups.

Related Links:

2017 Recovery Plan for Marine Turtles in Australia

Research Articles

Bevan E, Whiting S, Tucker T, Guinea M, Raith A, Douglas R. (2018) Measuring behavioral responses of sea turtles, saltwater crocodiles, and crested terns to drone disturbance to define ethical operating thresholds. PloS one doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0194460

Zimm R, Bentley BP, Wyneken J, Moustakas-Verho JE (2017). Environmental Causation of Turtle Scute Anomalies in ovo and in silico. Integrative and Comparative Biology, 57(6), 1303-1311. doi.org/10.1093/icb/icx066

Stubbs JL, Kearney MR, Whiting SD, Mitchell NJ. (2014) Models of primary sex ratios at a major flatback turtle rookery show an anomalous masculinising trend. Climate Change Responses 1: 1-18. doi.org/10.1186/s40665-014-0003-3

T Tucker, S Whiting, N Mitchell, O Berry, N FitzSimmons, K Pendoley The Kimberley Marine Turtle Project under the Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI) Proceedings of the Second Australian and Second Western Australian Marine Turtle Symposia Perth 25-27 August 2014 Page 79

Doctoral Thesis

Bentley, B. (2018). Predicting the impacts of increasing nest temperatures associated with climate change on Western Australian sea turtles. https://doi.org/10.26182/5b9f3530d0f35

Presentations

Whiting S, Tucker T, Berry O. Key biological indices required to understand and manage nesting sea turtles along the Kimberley coast. 2017 WAMSI Research Conference (video of presentationPresentation slides

Science on the Broome Coast: Sea Turtle: Iconic ambassadors linking marine habitats, cultures and regions on north WA

WAMSI KMRP Lunch and Learn - Key biological indices required to understand and manage nesting sea turtles along the Kimberley coast - Scott Whiting (DBCA), Tony Tucker (DBCA), Oliver Berry (CSIRO) Nicki Mitchell (UWA) (19 Oct 2017) (presentation slides)  (Audio)

   Bentley BP (2017) Temperature impacts on turtles. Northwest Shelf Flatback Turtle Conservation Program- Seminar.  DPAW, Perth, WA
   Bentley BP, Haas B, Tedeschi JN, Whiting S, Mitchell NJ, Berry O (2016). Marine turtle embryos regulate expression of 179 genes in response to thermal stress. Society for Conservation Biology, Oceania. Brisbane, QLD.    
   Bentley BP, Mitchell NJ, Whiting S, Berry O (2015). Adaptive Capacity of Marine Turtles to a Warming Climate: a Full Transcriptomic Analysis. Proceedings of the Second Australian and Second Western Australian Marine Turtle Symposia.  Perth, WA
   Bentley BP, Mitchell NJ, Whiting S, Haas B, Berry O (2016). Marine turtle embryos increase expression of 299 genes in response to simulated climate stress. Australian Society of Herpetologists Meeting. Launceston TAS.
   Bentley BP, Whiting S, Berry O, Haas B, Windsor T, Mitchell NJ. (2016). Exploring the effects of climate change on marine turtle development. International Congress of Vertebrate Morphology. Washington DC, USA.
   Bentley, B. Presentation for UWA 2nd year students in ENVT2221: Global Climate Change and Biodiversity. 2017
   Bentley BP, Haas B, Tedeschi JN, Whiting S, Mitchell NJ, Berry O (2015). Adaptive capacity of developing marine turtle embryos to a warming climate. UWA Animal Biology Postgraduate Seminar Series. Perth, WA.
   Bentley, B. UWA School of Biological Sciences Seminars; 2015, 2016 and 2017.
   Bentley, BP (2017) Geographic variation in temperature-dependent sex determining mechanism and development rate of marine turtles in Western Australia.  Australian Society of Herpetologists, Fairbridge WA
   FitzSimmons, N (2017) Northwest Shelf Flatback turtle populations: a genetic perspective. Northwest Shelf Flatback Turtle Conservation Program- Seminar.  DPAW, Perth, WA
   Mitchell N, Stubbs J, Whiting S, Kearne, M. Sand. (2015)  Temperatures at a Major Flatback Rookery Suggest a Masculinising Trend in Recent Decades. Proceedings of the Second Australian and Second Western Australian Marine Turtle Symposia. Proceedings of the Second Australian and Second Western Australian Marine Turtle Symposia.  Perth, WA.
   Mitchell N. (2017) Pivotal temperatures of marine turtles in WA. Northwest Shelf Flatback Turtle Conservation Program- Seminar.  DPAW, Perth, WA
   Mitchell, N. Stubbs, J. Whiting. S. and Kearney, M.  Australian Marine turtle Symposium, Hillarys, Western Australia. 2014. Talk title: “Sand temperatures at a major flatback rookery suggest a masculinising trend in recent decades.”
   Tedeshi J (2017)  Flatback marine turtle embryos show a positive response to acute thermal stress. Australian Society of Herpetologists, Fairbridge WA
   Tucker T (2015). Known unknowns and the puzzling Teflon turtle:  new research directions for flatback turtles.  Western Australia Threatened Species Forum.  Batavia Maritime Institute. 30 /10/15.  Geraldton, WA
   Tucker T (2017) Kimberley turtle distribution and abundance from aerial surveys. Northwest Shelf Flatback Turtle Conservation Program- Seminar.  DPAW, Perth, WA
   Tucker T (2017) Satellite tracking summary. Northwest Shelf Flatback Turtle Conservation Program- Seminar.  DPAW, Perth, WA
   Tucker T (2017) Skeletochronology summary. Northwest Shelf Flatback Turtle Conservation Program- Seminar.  DPAW, Perth, WA
   Tucker T (2017) Stable Isotope summary Northwest Shelf Flatback Turtle Conservation Program- Seminar.  DPAW, Perth, WA
   Tucker T and S Whiting (2016) Collaborative turtle research along Australia’s remotest coast.  Kimberley Society Oct 15, 2016. Perth, WA.
   Tucker T, Whiting S, Mitchell N, Berry  O, FitzSimmons N, Pendoley K (2015) The Kimberley Marine Turtle Project under the Western Australian Marine Sciences Institution (WAMSI). Proceedings of the Second Australian and Second Western Australian Marine Turtle Symposia.  Perth, WA
   Whiting S.  (2016) Marine turtles: iconic ambassadors linking marine habitats, cultures, and regions in north-western Australia.  Science on the Broome Coast, June 8, 2016.  Broome, WA.
   Whiting S, Tucker T, Mitchell N, Berry O, FitzSimmons N, and Pendoley K. (2015) Marine Turtles of the Kimberley.  Proceedings of the 2015 WAMSI Research Conference, p. 64.  Perth, WA.
   Whiting S, Tucker T, Mitchell N, Berry O, FitzSimmons N, and Pendoley K. (2017) Key biological indices required to understand and manage nesting marine turtles along the Kimberley coast.  WAMSI conference.  Perth, WA.
   Whiting S, Tucker T, Mitchell N, Berry O, FitzSimmons N, and Pendoley K. (2015) Marine Turtles of the Kimberley.  Kimberley Indigenous Saltwater Science Project.  Broome, WA.
   Whiting S, Tucker T, Mitchell N, Berry O, Pendoley K, FitzSimmons N (2015) WAMSI Project 1.2.2. – Marine Turtles.  Proceedings 2015 WAMSI Research Conference. Perth, WA, 30 March- 1 April 2015. Western Australian Marine Science Institution. Pp 80.
   Whiting S.  (2017) Time series data and monitoring of marine turtles in WA. Northwest Shelf Flatback Turtle Conservation Program- Seminar.  DPAW, Perth, WA.
   Whiting S. et al.  (2016) Planning and implementing flatback turtle conservation strategies in Western Australia. Third Australian Marine Turtle Symposia- Darwin, NT.
   Whiting S., and Tucker T. (2015) Planning for the Future: Constraints and Opportunities for Long-Term Monitoring of Marine Turtles in Western Australia. Proceedings of the Second Australian and Second Western Australian Marine Turtle Symposia. Perth, WA.
   Whiting S. Tucker T, Mitchell N, Berry O, FitzSimmons N, and Pendoley K. (2017).  Key biological indices required to understand and manage nesting marine turtles along the Kimberley coast, DBCA, Kensington, WA.
   Wyneken J, Salmon M, Hamann M, Tucker A, and Whiting S.  (2016)  Successful and unsuccessful adhesives for use on neonate flatback turtles (Natator depressus): what works and doesn’t work on the “Teflon turtles”.  Proc. 36th Annual Symp. Marine turtle Biology and Conservation.  Lima Peru.
   Young E (2017) Mortality and health of marine turtles in WA. Northwest Shelf Flatback Turtle Conservation Program- Seminar.  DPAW, Perth, WA
   Young E , Whiting S, Tucker  T, Bobojcov A , Williams C, Badal A,Karajarri Ranger Group. (2015) Eighty Mile Beach Turtle Monitoring Program: Past, Present and Future. Proceedings of the Second Australian and Second Western Australian Marine Turtle Symposia. Proceedings of the Second Australian and Second Western Australian Marine Turtle Symposia.  Perth, WA.
 

News

  1. New genetic stocks of turtles defined in the Kimberley (WAMSI Bulletin June 2017)
  2. Beaches viewed from above helping to tell Kimberley turtle story (Parks and Wildlife)
  3. Turtles face climate change threat as warming beaches turn eggs female (ABC online)
  4. Turtles face climate change threat as warming beaches turn eggs female (ABC TV News)
  5. Premier briefed on Kimberley marine research projects (WAMSI)
  6. Field trip finds turtle and fish food abundant in Bardi Jawi country (WAMSI)
  7. Bardi Jawi Rangers turtle tagging expedition (KLC)
  8. Secrets of the green sea turtle revealed (WAMSI)
  9. Dr Oliver Berry talks on ABC Kimberley radio