Fifty-one international experts today published the most comprehensive study of the extinction risks for turtles and tortoises in Current Biology. Turtles are in trouble. More than half of all 360 turtle and tortoise species face imminent extinction if current trends continue. Australian turtles feature prominently in the list of species of greatest concern.
Posted in Turtle Research on Jul 24, 2019
An exciting new NGO has emerged from the Piku program that has operated out of the University of Canberra since 2006. The new NGO is called the Piku Biodiversity Network Incorporated or PBN for short. Its purpose is to promote and enable biodiversity conservation in Papua New Guinea through environmental education, community-led conservation and knowledge generation.
Posted in Turtle Research on Apr 09, 2019
Who would have thought you could pull DNA from historical museum specimens dating back to 1796 and sequence it? In a paper that came out today in Scientific Reports we use whole mitochondrial sequences from living populations and assembly of fragments of DNA from museum type specimens to bring the two together and solve some longstanding taxonomic enigmas.
Posted in Turtle Research on Dec 15, 2018
In a recent paper in Molecular Ecology on species delimitation, we invoke the age-old criterion of diagnosability to identify lineages that are candidates as name-bearing taxa. For SNP markers, fixed allelic differences between populations or metapopulations provide diagnosability. We apply these markers to a case study of a freshwater turtle, Emyduro macquorii, whose systematics has so far defied resolution, to bring to light a dynamic system of substantive allopatric lineages diverging on independent evolutionary trajectories, but held back in the process of speciation by low level and episodic exchange of alleles across drainage divides on various timescales.
Posted in Turtle Research on Nov 30, 2018
The Bellinger River Sawshell, *Myuchelys georgesi*, is facing some serious challenges. In an article that appeared this week in the journal Endangered Species Research, we report the disturbing observation that the endangered endemic *Myuchelys georgesi* is hybridizing in the wild with the locally introduced *Emydura macquarii*, which threatens Its very existence.
Posted in Turtle Research on Mar 13, 2018
Conservationists, wildlife biologists and other experts converted on Singapore Zoo this week for intensive scrutiny of what is known of the freshwater turtles of Asia, New Guinea and environs. They paint a sober picture, with many species moving to vulnerable or from vulnerable to endangered, or from endangered to critically endangered.
Posted in Turtle Research on Mar 13, 2018
The Bellinger River Turtle, Myuchelys georgesi, is in trouble. A virus recently decimated the population, virtually extirpating the adult population from its restricted native range. Effectively, only juveniles remain. In this article, which appeared today an Biological Conservation, we outline our views on the causes of the decline.
Posted in Turtle Research on Mar 03, 2018
There is no vertebrate group facing greater survival problems today than turtles. Turtles saw the great dinosaurs come and go and are now facing their own extinction crisis -- John Behler. Scientists have now revised their assessment of the 25 turtles most at risk of extinction, to increase the imperative for governments to take action. Two Australian freshwater turtles are on the list.
Posted in Turtle Research on Dec 18, 2017
Congratulations to Matt Young and Yolarnie Amepou on securing funding from the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund for their work in Papua New Guinea. The project is administered by the Institute for Applied Ecology at the University of Canberra in partnership with the Piku Biodiversity Network in PNG.
Posted in Turtle Research on Nov 17, 2017
Next-Generation DNA Sequencing is going to be brought to bear on wildlife trafficking for Australian freshwater turtles thanks to a grant to Matt Young from the Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment Fund. Well done Matt Young on securing this support.