Issue 6
Tuesday, 07 August 2018
Charles Darwin University
E-news
From left: Dr Carla Eisemberg, Isabel Ely, Dr Linda Ford and Dr Erica Garcia
From left: Dr Carla Eisemberg, Isabel Ely, Dr Linda Ford and Dr Erica Garcia

Researchers probe mystery of dying turtles

By Danielle Lee-Ryder

Environmental researchers are investigating an increase in malnourished and perished long neck turtles at Finniss River, two hours south-west of Darwin.

Research Fellow Dr Carla Eisemberg said CDU was working with Territory Natural Resource Management on the project.

“We don’t know exactly why they are dying. It could be a range of reasons such as water quality, contamination from nearby mines, virus, parasites or even cane toads.”

Dr Eisemberg said, however, that many of the empty turtle shells collected showed marks from feral pigs.

Environmental Management Masters student Isabel Ely is assisting with the research.

“We will analyse tissue samples of the liver, muscles and fat to determine the levels of heavy metals,” Isabel said.

Senior Research Fellow Erica Garcia is testing the water quality to determine if contaminants may be the cause.

“It could be a result of toxins leaching into the water or herbicides from aquatic weed control,” Dr Garcia said.

Dr Linda Ford is also involved in the project as she is a Rak Mak Mak Marranunggu a traditional landowner of Twin Hill Station located on the Wagait Aboriginal Land Trust.