Increased population is leading to sick turtles

Mar 23, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- University of Queensland researchers have discovered that one of the effects of inceased human population is stress being placed on the environment leading to sick turtles.

Staff from the Veterinary Marine Animal Research, Teaching and Investigation (Vet-MARTI) unit within the School of Veterinary Science have been conducting an in-depth investigation to determine the diseases and causes of death in green and loggerhead turtles in Southern Queensland.

Director of Vet-MARTI, Dr Mark Flint, has found that these turtles are dying due to the environment they live in, rather than from the ingestion of foreign items.

“The increases in disease syndromes we are seeing within Moreton Bay are likely to be caused by environmental stressors reducing the quality of the waters in which the turtles live," Dr Flint said.

"This contrasts to open studies that have focused on the ingestion of items such as garbage bags, shredded plastic and ghost nets,” Dr Flint said.

“There is a growing body of evidence that increased populations in major cities such as Brisbane are having an effect on the health of marine turtles.”

Dr Flint said findings conducted by Vet-MARTI had shown that green turtles found stranded within the shallow waters of Moreton Bay were dying due to parasites, gastrointestinal disorders and infectious diseases. This differed from reports of turtle deaths studied in deep waters outside of the Bay.

“The approach we have taken to this investigation has allowed us to make more accurate diagnoses of diseases and causes of death," he said.

"We have established baseline medical data to determine which animals are ‘healthy' and used this to compare with ‘unhealthy' animals to diagnose diseases through working with a variety of veterinary specialists and expert biologists.”

Dr Flint believes they have only just begun and need to continue to discover improved and more accurate ways of identifying diseases in and other .

“We need to use these findings to help rehabilitation centres attempting to save these animals, work these results into Marine Area Protection management plans and raise public awareness,” Dr Flint said.

Explore further: Scientists work to save endangered desert mammal

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Plastic bags killing Queensland’s turtles

Mar 13, 2008

A group of University of Queensland researchers are urging Queenslanders to avoid littering the state's marine environment during the upcoming Easter holiday weekend.

Turtles caught in the cold to rehab

Dec 28, 2005

Ridley turtles and an 88-pound loggerhead turtle named Bruiser are expected to spend winter in rehabilitation in New York after being caught in the cold.

It's a record summer for some turtles

Aug 21, 2006

Italian scientists say an endangered species of marine turtle -- loggerhead turtles -- are appearing along Italy's southern shores in increasing numbers.

Prehistoric Turtle Threatened by Modern Menace

Mar 13, 2009

They survived the extinction of the dinosaurs. They're descendants of one of the oldest family trees in history, spanning 100 million years. But today leatherback turtles, the most widely distributed reptiles ...

Recommended for you

Scientists work to save endangered desert mammal

5 minutes ago

Amargosa voles, small rodents that inhabit rare marshes of the Mojave Desert, have faced dire circumstances in recent years. Loss of habitat, extreme drought and climate change brought this subspecies of ...

Sex-loving, meat-eating reptiles have shorter lives

1 hour ago

The health risks and benefits of vegetarianism have long been discussed in relation to the human diet, but newly published research reveals that it's definitely of benefit to the reptile population. That, ...

US charges safari owners with illegal rhino hunts

13 hours ago

Two South African men were charged Thursday by the US government with conspiracy to sell illegal rhinoceros hunts to American hunters, money laundering and secretly trafficking in rhino horns.

Helping sweet cherries survive the long haul

19 hours ago

A new study says that cherry producers need to understand new intricacies of the production-harvest-marketing continuum in order to successfully move sweet cherries from growers to end consumers. For example, the Canadian ...

User comments : 0