Movement and habitat use of Australia's largest snake-necked turtle: implications for water management

Deborah Bower, Mark Hutchinson, Arthur Georges

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    9 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Hydrological regimes strongly influence ecological processes in river basins. Yet, the impacts of management regimes are unknown for many freshwater taxa in highly regulated rivers. We used radio-telemetry to monitor the movement and activity of broad-shelled river turtles Chelodina expansa to infer the impact of current water management practices on turtles in Australiaâ¿¿s most regulated river â¿¿ the Murray River. We radio-tracked C. expansa to (1) measure the range span and examine the effect of sex, size and habitat type on turtle movement, and (2) examine habitat use within the river channel and its associated backwaters. C. expansa occupied all macro habitats in the river (main channel, backwater, swamp and connecting inlets). Within these habitats, females occupied discrete home ranges, whereas males moved up to 25 km. The extensive movement of male turtles suggests that weirs and other aquatic barriers may interfere with movement and dispersal. Turtles regularly move between backwaters and the main river channel, which highlights the likely disturbance from backwater detachment, a water saving practice in the lower Murray River.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)76-80
    Number of pages5
    JournalJournal of Zoology
    Volume287
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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    snake
    turtle
    habitat use
    water management
    backwater
    turtles
    snakes
    rivers
    habitats
    river
    river channel
    radiotelemetry
    hydrological regime
    habitat
    home range
    swamp
    habitat type
    weirs
    management practice
    radio telemetry

    Cite this

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    abstract = "Hydrological regimes strongly influence ecological processes in river basins. Yet, the impacts of management regimes are unknown for many freshwater taxa in highly regulated rivers. We used radio-telemetry to monitor the movement and activity of broad-shelled river turtles Chelodina expansa to infer the impact of current water management practices on turtles in Australia{\^a}¿¿s most regulated river {\^a}¿¿ the Murray River. We radio-tracked C. expansa to (1) measure the range span and examine the effect of sex, size and habitat type on turtle movement, and (2) examine habitat use within the river channel and its associated backwaters. C. expansa occupied all macro habitats in the river (main channel, backwater, swamp and connecting inlets). Within these habitats, females occupied discrete home ranges, whereas males moved up to 25 km. The extensive movement of male turtles suggests that weirs and other aquatic barriers may interfere with movement and dispersal. Turtles regularly move between backwaters and the main river channel, which highlights the likely disturbance from backwater detachment, a water saving practice in the lower Murray River.",
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    Movement and habitat use of Australia's largest snake-necked turtle: implications for water management. / Bower, Deborah; Hutchinson, Mark; Georges, Arthur.

    In: Journal of Zoology, Vol. 287, No. 1, 2012, p. 76-80.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Movement and habitat use of Australia's largest snake-necked turtle: implications for water management

    AU - Bower, Deborah

    AU - Hutchinson, Mark

    AU - Georges, Arthur

    PY - 2012

    Y1 - 2012

    N2 - Hydrological regimes strongly influence ecological processes in river basins. Yet, the impacts of management regimes are unknown for many freshwater taxa in highly regulated rivers. We used radio-telemetry to monitor the movement and activity of broad-shelled river turtles Chelodina expansa to infer the impact of current water management practices on turtles in Australiaâ¿¿s most regulated river â¿¿ the Murray River. We radio-tracked C. expansa to (1) measure the range span and examine the effect of sex, size and habitat type on turtle movement, and (2) examine habitat use within the river channel and its associated backwaters. C. expansa occupied all macro habitats in the river (main channel, backwater, swamp and connecting inlets). Within these habitats, females occupied discrete home ranges, whereas males moved up to 25 km. The extensive movement of male turtles suggests that weirs and other aquatic barriers may interfere with movement and dispersal. Turtles regularly move between backwaters and the main river channel, which highlights the likely disturbance from backwater detachment, a water saving practice in the lower Murray River.

    AB - Hydrological regimes strongly influence ecological processes in river basins. Yet, the impacts of management regimes are unknown for many freshwater taxa in highly regulated rivers. We used radio-telemetry to monitor the movement and activity of broad-shelled river turtles Chelodina expansa to infer the impact of current water management practices on turtles in Australiaâ¿¿s most regulated river â¿¿ the Murray River. We radio-tracked C. expansa to (1) measure the range span and examine the effect of sex, size and habitat type on turtle movement, and (2) examine habitat use within the river channel and its associated backwaters. C. expansa occupied all macro habitats in the river (main channel, backwater, swamp and connecting inlets). Within these habitats, females occupied discrete home ranges, whereas males moved up to 25 km. The extensive movement of male turtles suggests that weirs and other aquatic barriers may interfere with movement and dispersal. Turtles regularly move between backwaters and the main river channel, which highlights the likely disturbance from backwater detachment, a water saving practice in the lower Murray River.

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    KW - radio-telemetry

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    KW - tortoise

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    KW - sex differences

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