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Gnaraloo Bay Turtle Monitoring in Western Australia

Welcome Jordy! Program Assistant Introduction GTCP Season 2015/16

Hi there,

My name is Jordy Thomson and I’ll be the GTCP PA for the 2015/16 field season. I’m from Canada – the least likely place for a sea turtle biologist, I know – but I’ve actually spent quite a bit of time in Western Australia studying the behaviour of green and loggerhead sea turtles over the past decade. I did my PhD research in Shark Bay, just a quick trip down the coast from Gnaraloo, where green and loggerhead turtles spend their days feeding and avoiding being fed on by tiger sharks in one of the world’s largest and most diverse seagrass ecosystems (like Ningaloo, Shark Bay is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site). I’m looking forward to switching gears and taking on the new challenge of working on the nesting side of things with these critters up at Gnaraloo!

A bit more about my background: I’m a research scientist at heart and have worked on a variety of research/conservation projects involving big marine wildlife in warm and cold places around the world. My interests generally lie at the intersection of animal behaviour, ecology and conservation in coastal ecosystems. I particularly love the challenge and creativity involved in figuring out new ways to learn about the behaviour of marine animals, to understand how their behaviour relates to community and ecosystem dynamics, and to apply this knowledge to reduce our societal impacts on these ecosystems. Gnaraloo presents a great opportunity to get involved not just in a working sea turtle nesting beach research project but also in an effective on-ground conservation program that has the important responsibility of protecting turtle rookeries from various threats, most notably introduced predators. In addition to the usual GTCP monitoring activities, we’ve also got some interesting side projects in store for this season, so it should be an exciting one. Stay tuned!

Jordy Thomson
Jordy capturing a loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) for measurement and tagging, Shark Bay, WA
Jordy Thomson
Jordy deploying a time-depth recorder on a green turtle (Chelonia mydas) in Shark Bay, WA to study their depth use patterns (this is important to be able to estimate abundance from boat-based or aerial surveys)
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