Opportunities for research and conservation of freshwater turtles in Australia

Deborah S. Bower, Donald T. McKnight, Kyra Sullivan, Stewart L. Macdonald, Arthur Georges, Simon Clulow, Rupert Mathwin, Marilyn J. Connell, Holly V. Nelson, Anthony Santoro, Bethany Nordstrom, James U. Van Dyke, Rosie A. Kidman, Louise M. Streeting, Martin L. Dillon, Ricky John Spencer, Michael B. Thompson, Eric J. Nordberg

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


Australia's freshwater turtles have high endemicity and many are threatened by extinction. Following a symposium held at the 2022 conference of the Australian Society of Herpetologists, we summarized the current status of research and conservation for Australian freshwater turtles and identified opportunities for future research. Eight species (32%) of Australia's 25 native freshwater turtles are listed as threatened by Australia's Federal Government. Symposium discussions on the primary gaps in research identified the lack of baseline data to inform population modelling as a key deficiency. Knowledge of the most effective conservation actions, the effectiveness of attempts to aid population recovery, and whether these actions are required at all, remains lacking for many species. A heavy bias exists between some well-studied species compared with others for which little or no information is published. Community science, engagement with First Nations people, advances in technology, and recognition of the importance of turtles are contributing to better knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1483-1491
Number of pages9
JournalAustral Ecology
Issue number8
Early online date13 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


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