Australia has a unique freshwater turtle fauna, dominated by the Family Chelidae. Chelid turtles are found only in Australasia and South America, even as fossils, and so are of clear Gondwanal origin. Remarkably, as with the marsupials, the Australian and South American radiations appear to be independent, with no crossover in the relationships among the various species on each continent. Our research ranges from phylogeny, including recent sequencing of the whole mitochondiral genomes of the Australian chelids, to examining species boundaries with allozymes (formerly) and now single nucleotide markers, to phylogeography at regional scales.



Kehlmaier, C., Kuchling, G., Shea, G., Georges, A., Zhang, X., Fritz, U. and Thomson, S. 2024. History and historical DNA: Identity of Chelodina intergularis Fry, 1915 and type localities of C. intergularis and C. rugosa Ogilby, 1890 Zootaxa 5448: 531–555 [pdf]

Thomson, S., Friol, N.R., White, A., Wedd, D. and Georges, A. 2023. The Australian Gulf Snapping Turtle <i>Elseya lavarackorum</i> (Testudines: Chelidae) revisited – is the late Pleistocene fossil species extant? Vertebrate Zoology 73:237–256, http:\\\10.3897/vz.73.e99495. [pdf]

Mijangos, J., Gruber, B., Berry, O., Pacioni, C. and Georges, A. 2022. dartR v2: an accessible genetic analysis platform for conservation, ecology, and agriculture Methods in Ecology and Evolution 13:2150–2158 [pdf]

Unmack, P.J., Adams, M., Hammer, M.P., Johnson, J.B., Gruber, B., Gilles, A., Young, M. and Georges, A. 2022. Plotting for change: an analytic framework to aid decisions on which lineages are candidate species in phylogenomic species discovery. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 135:117–137. [pdf]

Georges, A., Wedd, D. and Dostine, P. 2021. Genetic analysis of species identity of turtles from the Roper River collected as part of the Beetaloo Basin Geological and Bioregional Assessment (GBA). Report to the Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods (RIEL), Charles Darwin University, in support of the Beetaloo GBA Program. 10-Dec-2021. [pdf]

Melville, J., Chapple, D.G., Keogh, J.S., Sumner, J., Amey, A., Bowles, P., Brennan, I.G., Couper, P., Donnellan, S.C., Doughty, P., Edwards, D.L., Ellis, R.J., Esquerré, D., Fenker, J., Gardner, M.G., Georges, A., Haines, M.L., Hoskin, C.J., Hutchinson, M., Moritz, C., Nankivell, J., Oliver, P., Pavón-Vázquez, C.J., Pepper, M., Rabosky, D.L., Sanders, K., Shea, G., Singhal, S., Wilmer, J.W., Tingley, R. 2021. A return-on-investment approach for prioritization of rigorous taxonomic research needed to inform responses to the biodiversity crisis PLoS Biology 19:e3001210. [pdf]

Rhodin, A.G.J., Iverson, J.B., Bour, R., Fritz, U, Georges, A, Shaffer, H.B. and van Dijk, P.P [Turtle Taxonomy Working Group]. 2021. Turtles of the World: Annotated Checklist and Atlas of Taxonomy, Synonymy, Distribution, and Conservation Status (9th Edition) Chelonian Conservation Monographs 8:1-472 [pdf]

Cao, R., Somaweera, R., Brittain, K., Fitzsimmons, N., Georges, A. and Gongora, J. 2020. Genetic structure and diversity of Australian freshwater crocodiles (Crocodylus johnstoni) from the Kimberley, Western Australia. Conservation Genetics 21:421–429. [pdf]

Chessman, B.C., McGilvray, G., Rumming, S., Jones, H.A., Petrov, K., Fielder, D.P., Spencer, R-J and Georges, A. 2020. On a razor’s edge: status and prospects of the critically endangered Bellinger River snapping turtle, Myuchelys georgesi. Aquatic Conservation 30:586-600. [pdf]

Madsen, T.. Loman, J., Anderberg, L., Anderbert, H., Georges, A. and Ujvari, B. 2020. Genetic rescue restores long-term population viability. Current Biology 30:R1283–R1300 [pdf]

Shea, G., Thomson, S. and Georges, A. 2020. The identity of Chelodina oblonga Gray 1841 (Chelonia: Chelidae) reassessed. Zootaxa 4779:419–437. [pdf]

Georges, A. 2019. Assessment of Putative Natural Hybridization between the Freshwater Turtles <i>Chelodina colliei</i>and <i>C. steindachneri</i> in Western Australia Assessment of Putative Natural Hybridization between the Freshwater Turtles Chelodina colliei and C. steindachneri in Western Australia Report prepared for Dr Colin Johnson, Biodiversity Conservation Project Manager (Invasive Species), Central Regional TAFE, Batavia Coast Maritime Institute, Separation Point WA 6530 [pdf]

Kehlmaier, C., Zhang, X., Georges, A., Campbell, P.D., Thomson, S. and Fritz, U. 2019. Mitogenomics of historical type specimens of Australasian turtles: clarification of taxonomic confusion and old mitochondrial introgression. Scientific Reports 9:5841. [pdf]

Unmack, P., Adams, M., Bylemans, J., Hardy, C., Hammer, M. and Georges, A. 2019. Perspectives on the clonal persistence of presumed ‘ghost’ genomes in unisexual or allopolyploid taxa arising via hybridization Scientific Reports 9:4730. [pdf]

Unmack, P.J., Young, M.J., Gruber, B., White, D., Kilian, A., Zhang, X. and Georges, A. 2019. Phylogeography and species delimitation of <i>Cherax destructor</i> (Decapoda: Parastacidae) using Genome-wide SNPs. Marine and Freshwater Research 70:857–869. [pdf]

Berman, D., Unmack, P., Georges, A. and Gruber, B. 2018. River structure and scale as determinants of population structure in the eastern basins of Australia. Annual Conference of the Genetics Society of Australasia, University of Canberra, July 1-4, 2018

Georges, A. 2018. Book Review: “Freshwater Turtles of Australia” by John Cann and Ross Sadlier. CSIRO Publishing, Australia. Australian Journal of Zoology 66:84–87. [pdf]

Georges, A., Gruber, B., Pauly, G.B., Adams. M., White, D., Young, M.J., Kilian, A., Zhang, X., Shaffer, H.B. and Unmack, P.J. 2018. Genome-wide SNP markers breathe new life into phylogeography and species delimitation for the problematic short-necked turtles (Chelidae: Emydura) of eastern Australia. Molecular Ecology 27:5195-5213 [pdf]

Georges, A., Spencer, R-J., Killian, A. and Zhang, X. 2018. Assault from all sides: hybridization and introgression threaten the already critically endangered <i>Myuchelys georgesi</i> (Chelonia: Chelidae) Endangered Species Research 37: 239–247. [pdf]

Gruber, B., Unmack, P.J., Berry, O. and Georges, A. 2018. dartR: an R package to facilitate analysis of SNP data generated from reduced representation genome sequencing. Molecular Ecology Resources 18:691–699 [pdf]

Richards, S., Clulow, S., Bower D. and Georges, A. 2018. Herpetofauna of the Wau Creek proposed Wildlife Management Area, Gulf Province, Papua New Guinea. Pp. 83-96 In: Richards, S.J. (Editor). Rapid biological assessments of Wau Creek, Uro Creek and Lake Kutubu: documenting biodiversity values to promote forest conservation in the Kikori River basin, Papua New Guinea. ExxonMobil PNG Limited. Port Moresby. [pdf]

Bower, D.S., Lips, K.R., Schwartzkopf, L., Georges, A. and Clulow, S. 2017. Amphibians on the brink. Preemptive policies can protect amphibians from devastating fungal diseases. Science 357:454-455. [pdf]

Georges, A. and Gruber, B. 2017. An R package for manipulating SNP genotypes generated by DArT Pty Ltd. Museum Genomics in Practice. Workshop organised by the Centre for Biodiversity Analysis. 4-6 April, 2017. ANU Canberra, Australia.

Georges, A., Adams, M., Gruber, B. and Unmack, P. 2017. Are multilocus approaches to species delimitation an answer to rampant taxonomic inflation? CBA Conference on Genomics and Collections: Adaptation to Macroevolution. 12-14 September 2017, Canberra, Australia [pdf]

Rhodin, A.G.J., Iverson, J.B., Bour, R., Fritz, U, Georges, A, Shaffer, H.B. and van Dijk, P.P [Turtle Taxonomy Working Group]. 2017. Turtles of the World: Annotated Checklist and Atlas of Taxonomy, Synonymy, Distribution, and Conservation Status (8th Edition) Chelonian Conservation Monographs 7:1-292. [pdf]

Zhang, X., Unmack, P., Kuchling, G., Wang, Y. and Georges, A. 2017. Resolution of the enigmatic phylogenetic relationship of the critically endangered Western Swamp Tortoise Pseudemydura umbrina (Pleurodira: Chelidae) using a complete mitochondrial genome. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 115:58–61. [pdf]

Georges, A., Unmack, P.J., Pauly, g., Gruber, B., Kilian, A., Hodges, K., Young, M.,Shaffer H.B. and Zhang, X. 2016. Phylogeography of the enigmatic southern Emydura complex of eastern Australia (Chelonia: Chelidae) based on a combination of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA markers (SNPs). The 8th World Congress of Herpetology, 15-21 August, 2016. Hangzou, China [Invited Presentation]

Thomson, S. and Georges, A. 2016. A new species of freshwater turtle of the genus Elseya (Testudinata: Pleurodira: Chelidae) from the Northern Territory of Australia. Zootaxa 4061:18-28. [pdf]

Hodges, K., Donnellan, S and Georges, A. 2015. Significant genetic structure despite high vagility revealed through mitochondrial phylogeography of an Australian freshwater turtle, Chelodina longicollis. Marine and Freshwater Research 66:1045-1056. [pdf]

Rhodin, A.G.J., Kaiser, H., van Dijk, P.P., Wüster, W., O’Shea and Thomson, S. with 74 other authors, including Georges, A. 2015. Comment on Spracklandus Hoser, 2009 (Reptilia, Serpentes, ELAPIDAE): request for confirmation of the availability of the generic name and for the nomenclatural validation of the journal in which it was published (Case 3601; BZN 70:234-237; 71:30-38; 133-1 Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 72(1):65-78. [pdf]

Thomson, S.A., Amepou, Y., Anamiato, J. and Georges, A. 2015. A new species and subgenus of Elseya (Testudines: Pleurodira: Chelidae) from New Guinea. Zootaxa 4006:59-82. [pdf]

Thomson, SA 2015. Diagnosis of Living and Fossil Short-necked Turtles of the Genus Elseya using skeletal morphology Master of Applied Science Thesis, University of Canberra, Australia. [pdf]

Adams, M., Raadik, T., Burridge, C. and Georges, A. 2014. Global biodiversity assessment and hyper-cryptic species complexes: more than one species of elephant in the room? Systematic Biology 63:518-533. [pdf]

Georges, A., Zhang, X., Unmack, P., Reid, B.N., Le, M. and McCord, W.P. 2014. Contemporary genetic structure of an endemic freshwater turtle reflects Miocene orogenesis of New Guinea. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 111:192-208 [pdf]

Hodges, K., Donnellan, S and Georges, A. 2014. Phylogeography of the Australian freshwater turtle Chelodina expansa reveals complex relationships among inland and coastal bioregions. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 111:789-805. [pdf]

Kennett, R., Fordham, D.A., Alacs, E., Corey, B. and Georges, A. 2014. Chelodina oblonga Gray 1841 -- Northern Snake-necked Turtle Chelonian Research Monographs 5: doi:10.3854/crm.5.077.oblonga.v1.2014. [pdf]

Le, M., Reid, B., McCord, W., Naro-Maciel, E., Raxworthy, C., Amato, G., Georges, A. 2013. Resolving the phylogenetic history of the short-necked turtles, genera Elseya and Myuchelys (Testudines: Chelidae) from Australia and New Guinea. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 68:251-258. [pdf]

Todd, E.V., Blair, D., Farley, S., Farrington, L., FitzSimmons, N.N., Georges, A., Limpus, C.J. and Jerry, D.R 2013. Contemporary genetic structure reflects historical drainage isolation in an Australian snapping turtle, Elseya albagula. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, London, 169, 200-214. [pdf]

Thomson, S., Kennett, R., Tucker, A., Fitzsimmons, N.N., Featherston, P., Alacs, E.A. and Georges, A. 2011. Chelodina burrungandjii Thomson, Kennett and Georges 2000 - Sandstone Snake-necked Turtle. Chelonian Conservation Monographs 5, doi:10.3854/crm.5.056.burrungandjii.v1.2011 [pdf]

Georges, A. and Thomson, S. 2010. Diversity of Australasian freshwater turtles, with an annotated synonymy and keys to species. Zootaxa 2496:1-37. [pdf]

Alacs, E.A., Hillyer, M.J., Georges, A., FitzSimmons, N.N. and Hughes, J.M. 2009. Development of microsatellite markers in the Australasian snake-necked turtle Chelodina rugosa, and cross-species amplification Molecular Ecology Resources 9:350-353. [pdf]

Thomson, S. and Georges, A. 2009. A new genus for Elseya latisternum and related forms of Australian freshwater turtle (Testudines: Pleurodira: Chelidae). Zootaxa 2053:32-42 [pdf]

Alacs, E.A. 2008. Forensics, phylogeography and population genetics: A case study using the Australasian snake-necked turtle, Chelodina rugosa. PhD Thesis, Institute for Applied Ecology, University of Canberra, ACT Australia.

Georges, A., Alacs, E.,Pauza, M. Kinginapi, F., Ona, A. and Eisemberg, C. 2008. Freshwater turtles of the Kikori Drainage, Papua New Guinea, with special reference to the pig-nosed turtle, Carettochelys insculpta. Wildlife Research 35:700-711. [pdf]

Alacs, E., Janzen, F.J., Scribner, K.T. 2007. Genetic Issues in Freshwater Turtle and Tortoise Conservation. Chelonian Research Monographs 4:107-123 [pdf]

McGaugh, S.E., Alacs, A.A., Edwards, S.V., Feldman, C.R.,Georges, A., Sites, J.W. and Valenzuela, N. 2007. From molecules to organisms: Research applications of modern genetic tools for turtle biology and conservation. Chelonian Research Monographs 4:47-72. [pdf]

Georges, A. and Thomson,, S. 2006. Evolution and Zoogeography of Australian Freshwater Turtles. In: Merrick, J.R., Archer, M., Hickey, G. and Lee, M.S.Y. (eds). Evolution and Biogeography of Australasian Vertebrates. AUSCIPUB (Australian Scientific Publishing) Pty Ltd, Sydney. ISBN 0 9757790 0 1.

Thomson, S., Georges, A. and Limpus, C.L. 2006. A new species of freshwater turtle in the genus Elseya (Testudines: Chelidae) from central coastal Queensland, Australia. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 5:74-86. [pdf]

Thomson, S.A. 2006. Case 3351: Chelodina rugosa Ogilby, 1890 (currently Macrochelodina rugosa; Reptilia, Testudines): proposed precedence over Chelodina oblonga Gray, 1841. Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 63:187-193.

Georges, A., Adams, M. and McCord, W.P. 2002. Electrophoretic delineation of species boundaries within the genus Chelodina (Testudines: Chelidae) of Australia, New Guinea and Indonesia. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 134:401-21. [pdf]

McCord, W.P. and Thomson, S.A. 2002. A new species of Chelodina (Testudines: Pleurodira: Chelidae) from Northern Australia. Journal of Herpetology. 36:255-67. [pdf]

Iverson, J.B., Thomson, S.A. and Georges, A. 2001. Validity of taxonomic changes for turtles proposed by Wells and Wellington Journal of Herpetology. 35:361-368 [pdf]

Thomson S.A. 2000. On the identification of the holotype of Chelodina oblonga (Testudinata: Chelidae) with a discussion of the taxonomic implications. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 3:745-749. [pdf]

Thomson, S., Kennett, R. and Georges, A. 2000. A new species of long necked turtle (Chelidae:Chelodina) from the sandstone plateau of Arnhem Land, Northern Australia. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 3:675-685 [pdf]

Thomson, S.A. 2000. A revision of the fossil chelid turtles (Pleurodira) described by C.W. De Vis (1897). Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 45:593-598 [pdf]

Georges, A., Birrell, J., Saint, K., McCord, W.P. and Donnellan, S. 1999. A phylogeny for side-necked turtles (Chelonia: Pleurodira) based on mitochondrial and nuclear gene sequence variation. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, London 67:213-246. [pdf]

Thomson S.A. and Mackness B.S. 1999. Fossil turtles from the early pliocene bluff downs local fauna, with a description of a new species of Elseya Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 123:101-105

Thomson, S., White, A. and Georges, A. 1997. Re-evaluation of Emydura lavarackorum: Identification of a living fossil. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 42:327-336. [pdf]

Georges, A. and Adams, M. 1996. Electrophoretic delineation of species boundaries within the short-necked chelid turtles of Australia. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, London 118:241-260. [pdf]

Thomson, S. and Georges, A. 1996. Neural bones in chelid turtles. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 2:82-86. [pdf]

Georges, A. and Adams, M. 1992. A phylogeny for Australian chelid turtles based on allozyme electrophoresis. Australian Journal of Zoology 40:453-476. [pdf]

Sarre, S. 1989. Conservation genetics of island and mainland populations of the sleepy lizard (Trachydosaurus rugosa: Gray) Masters Thesis, Applied Ecology Research Group, Canberra College of Advanced Education (now University of Canberra), ACT 2601 Australia. [pdf]

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