In addition to analyzing data from the season 2010/11, the GTCP team considered data on the Gnaraloo turtles going back to 2000.
Matt, the GTCP Team leader 2010/11, spent hours to create electronic records of hand written data collected by a community member, Peter Mack, over a 5 year period from 2000 – 2008, prior to and independently of the GTCP. Matt analyzed a large amount of data such as field records, reports, informal communications, photos and maps in order to extract valuable and useful information. This information was then entered into an Excel database.
The informal data sets from 2000 – 2008 were then analyzed with the GTCP formal data sets from 2008 – 2011 in order to produce a trend analysis of Loggerhead nesting activities within the Gnaraloo Bay Rookery over 8 years. Opinion, technical and statistical assistance and advice were also sought from experts in the field, including Dr. Mark Hamann (James Cook University) and Dr. Beth Fulton (CSIRO), during this work.
From this important trend analysis, it can be confirmed that the annual nesting season at the Gnaraloo Bay Rookery starts around mid November. Nesting activities then increase steadily to reach a peak around early to mid January. The nesting season generally ends around mid to late February.
While the start, peak and end times of the Loggerhead breeding season at the Gnaraloo Bay Rookery vary from year to year, the informal data collected by Peter was very valuable in determining baseline data for Gnaraloo, as this is generally a long term process taking up to 30 years!
As there was inconsistency in the informal data sets prior to the GTCP (in terms of data sets collected and amount of time spent in the field each season), it is recommended that a statistical study be again undertaken in future (e.g. after 5 years of formal GTCP monitoring) in order to confirm the temporal distribution of the Loggerhead nesting activity within the Gnaraloo Bay Rookery.
Cheers, Matt and Mama