SEA TURTLE ECOLOGY RESEARCH – Gold Coast Australia

This study investigated sea turtle habitat availability, its relative use and localised movement patterns within the coastal waters of the Gold Coast region. This research was conducted over a 5 year period with Griffith University.

Project Scope

This study addressed the following specific research questions and hypotheses:

  • As a primary food source for green turtles, has the availability of seagrass meadows on the Gold Coast changed over time? It is hypothesised that ongoing urban development would have led to decline in and fragmentation of available seagrass habitat,
  • What is the relative abundance and habitat use of sea turtles on the Gold Coast? It is hypothesised that turtle populations, particularly green turtles, would make extensive use of seagrass habitats while loggerhead turtles would be associated with non-seagrass environments given their diet requirements,
  • What are the nesting patterns of sea turtles found on South Stradbroke Island? It is hypothesised that nesting patterns will reflect low numbers of both loggerhead and green turtles given that these nesting environments are close to the recognised southern peripheral limits of these species,
  • Is the green turtle population on the Gold Coast geographically discrete from those to the north? It is hypothesised that turtle movement patterns around the Gold Coast Broadwater will be restricted to the region reflecting the location of primary seagrass habitats.