Thesis: Foraging ecology and energetics of green turtles (Chelonia mydas) at Ningaloo, Western Australia
My research will investigate the influence of changing food availability and temperature on the energy budgets of green turtles. In particular, this project will assess elements of foraging ecology of green turtles at Ningaloo reef, Western Australia. This information, combined with physiological data will form the basis of a Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) model. With this model, this research will examine the effects of environmental conditions on how green turtles use energy for growth, maturation and reproduction.
Why my research is important
Green turtles are an important part of the Ningaloo reef ecosystem, yet there has been relatively little research conducted on this population outside of the breeding season. Knowledge of the ecology and physiology of a species is essential in order to predict how individuals will respond to changing conditions such as those expected with climate change. This research will add to our understanding of how future changes in environmental conditions may influence the growth or reproductive potential of this endangered species. This project forms part of the larger Ningaloo Outlook project which is a BHP-CSIRO Industry-Science Marine Research Partnership investing A$5.4 million over five years to gather new knowledge on the Ningaloo reef and it’s important ecological values.