Where are Turtles Most at Risk?

This diagram shows movement of ghost nets found on the shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria throughout a year. Digram courtesy of Wilcox et al 2012.

Where are Turtles most at Risk in the Gulf?

For this research CSIRO researchers Chris Wilcox, David Griffin, Denise hardesty, Ruth Sharples, T Lawson and GNA Coordinator Riki Gunn teamed together to develop an integrated analysis combining the oceanic models (diagram above) with ecological data on marine turtle species distribution and vulnerability to make quantitative predictions of threat.

Using this approach the research was able to assess this biodiversity threat. Entanglement risk is well-predicted by this model, as verified by independent strandings data, which identified a number of previously unknown high-risk areas eg SE Gulf of Carpentaria. The fit between the predictions and the observed entanglements also suggests that entanglement is driven by the frequency with which turtles encounter debris rather than based on foraging behaviour of turtles.