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Gnaraloo underwater

Check out what’s going on at Gnaraloo, from researchers onsite

Hi everyone, welcome to this season’s Gnaraloo Field Diary!

This year’s Gnaraloo Scientific Research Team will consist of Matt, a marine scientist from France, Marie, a zoologist from Ireland and Mark, a marine scientist from West Australia.

I (Marie) am currently staying in Geraldton with Gnaraloo’s Environmental Advisor, Karen Hattingh, and under her supervision I’m developing the Community Engagement program, a new component of the project which we’re introducing this year. Through this we’ll be welcoming volunteers from all walks of life whose help during morning track monitoring will be of great value to our team. We’re hoping that this will also be an opportunity to increase public awareness of the threats facing such a fragile and diverse ecosystem, and of the importance of conservation efforts already underway.

Matt and I have both participated in turtle conservation projects before; between us we’ve worked with Leatherbacks, Hawksbills, Greens and Olive Ridleys. This photo is of a colleague and I with a nesting Leatherback. Mark, who is familiar with the area, also has lots of experience ranging from mapping sand movements to working with whale sharks.

This year, our team won’t be doing night work as this will carried out later in the season by host researchers from the University of West Australia and James Cook University in Queensland. They will be investigating the effects of climate change on nest site selection and hatchling sex ratios. Community volunteers will also be given the opportunity to participate in this research.  As you can see, we’re introducing many new aspects to Gnaraloo Turtle Conservation Program (GTCP) this year, and we’re all very excited to be part of this development!

I will soon be leaving for Exmouth, where I will undergo formal training in Western Australian monitoring protocols and procedures from DEC (Department of Environment and Conservation). I’ll then be meeting Matt in Carnarvon, and from there we’ll travel to Gnaraloo station together. Matt and Mark will be training later this month, prior to Mark’s arrival at Gnaraloo. Check back on us to see how our work at Gnaraloo is progressing!


Marie and colleague with nesting Leatherback female
Marie and colleague with nesting Leatherback female
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