Exciting new NGO for PNG emerges from the IAE Piku Program

Posted in Turtle Research on Nov 09, 2017

An exciting new NGO has emerged from the Piku program that has operated out of the University of Canberra since 2006. Our sponsors gave us the lead -- it is time for this program to transition to PNG leadership, and we agreed. The Piku Biodiversity Network was incorporated last week and will be led by Public Officer Yolarnie Amepou. The Board comprises persons with impeccable connections to community and sustainability programs within PNG, and a representative from UC. The new NGO received a welcome injection of funds last night, by way of a donation of 10,000 kina from the PNG-Australia Alumni Association.

Yolanie Amepou named UN 2017 Youth Champion for Sustainable Development Goals

Posted in Turtle Research on Oct 24, 2017

Congratulations to IAE Masters student Yolarnie Amepou on being named one to the United Nations 2017 Youth Champion for the Sustainable Development Goals in PNG. The pesentation was made at the commemoration of the 72nd anniversary of the United Nations, in Port Moresby, PNG.

Kutubu Kundu Digaso Festival

Posted in Turtle Research, Education and Outreach on Aug 24, 2017

Congratulations to Carla Eisemberg and Yolarnie Amepou of the IAE on securing funding from Exxon-Mobil PNG to attend the 7th Kutubu Kundu Digaso Festival in PNG later this month. The Kutubu Kundu and Digaso Festival celebrates the importance of the kundu drum and the Digaso oil in the traditional culture of the Kutubu people in the Southern Highlands Province. Cultural groups will travel from remote parts of the province to participate in the festival celebrations.

New Book on Australian Turtles

Posted in Turtle Research on Aug 06, 2017

Friday, Turtles of the World, and today I receive a copy of Freshwater Turtles of Australia by John Cann and Ross Sadlier. This is a greatly improved version of John Cann's earlier book on the same topic -- a spectacular expose of the diversity and form of the unusual turtle fauna of Australia, dominated as it is by the family Chelidae. Beautifully illustrated and accompanied by a wealth of experience that John has accumulated through decades of passionate enquiry. The taxonomy is a bit odd I must say, not in many cases following the lead given by the article by myself and Scott Thomson in 2010, or the Turtles of the World compendium, or the official list of turtles prepared by the Australian Society of Herpetologists. Cann and Sadlier go it alone, which is their perogative, with taxonomic rearrangements that reduce some species to the level of subspecies, and elsewhere raise a plethora of geographic variants to subspecies. This aside, it is a must for anyone who shares our passion for this fascinating group of reptiles.

Turtles of the World

Posted in Turtle Research on Aug 04, 2017

The 8th Edition of the Turtles of the World Annotated Checklist and Atlas of Taxonomy, Synonymy, Distribution, and Conservation Status is now available on line. This is a spectacular compendium of the latest scientific assessment of turtle species globally, and comes with new distribution maps and photos in addition to the taxonomic accounts.

Rare turtle's relationships resolved

Posted in Turtle Research on Jul 25, 2017

Congratulations to Xiuwen Zhang for her article resolving the phylogenetic relationships of the enigmatic Western Swamp Turtle using whole mitochondrial sequencing. The online version of the article, co-authored by Peter Unmack, Gerald Kuchling, Yinan Wang and Arthur Georges, appeared today in the journal Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.

Tropical Turtle Diets

Posted in Turtle Research on May 31, 2017

Congratulations to Mick Welsh on publishing his honours work. There have been few community studies of Australian freshwater turtles. The present study examined the diet and microhabitat use of 5 species of freshwater turtles from the Daly River, Northern Territory. Dietary shift with age was observed for most turtle species, and between species there was differentiation of diet and microhabitat use. The study also showed that in the dry-season, freshwater turtles in a perennial tropical river like the Daly River rely on aquatic vegetation and molluscs. Photograph: Megacephalic Emydura victoriae from the Daly River.

Workshop: Museum genomics in practice

Posted in Turtle Research, Education and Outreach on Apr 05, 2017

Having a great time at the Museum Genomics in Practice workshop organised by Craig Moritz and the team at the Centre for Biodiversity Analysis.

Saving Piku -- PNG's iconic pig-nosed turtle

Posted in Turtle Research on Mar 30, 2017

Seven tribes, seven languages, seven cultures. The fate of the Pig-Nosed Turtle (Carettochelys insculpta) living in the Kikori River lies in the hands of all the local people who own its habitat in southern Papua New Guinea. Masters student Yolarnie Amepou gives her account of the Piku Project, operating out of Kikori in the PNG lowlands.

Risk-based ecohydrological assessement of flow regimes -- Qld DNRM

Posted in Turtle Research on Mar 29, 2017

Determining strategies to protect or restore flow regimes to achieve ecological outcomes is a focus of water policy and legislation in many parts of the world. A team from Queensland DNRM has developed a risk-based ecohydrological approach that links ecosystem values to desired ecological outcomes. This allows the relative risk from different flow management scenarios to be evaluated at relevant spatial-scales and a robust and useful foundation upon which to build the information needed to support water planning decisions. A case study using the eastern long-necked turtle is presented, with input from IAE staff and former students.

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