1 Million Turtles Community Conservation Program
1 Million Turtles Community Conservation Program
We have developed a user-friendly online tool that enables anyone to locate turtles in their local area. This tool, known as the 'Turtle Nest Predictor Mapping Tool', uses advanced mapping techniques to predict potential nesting sites for turtles around water bodies across Australia.
If you're aware of a nearby urban park, golf course, or any other location with ponds, lakes, or drainage channels - this tool serves as an excellent starting point.
Click below to explore this tool today!
(Photo Credit: Dr Donald McKnight)
In this video, you will learn more about the tool and how to navigate your way around it.
Learn more about how TurtleSAT complements the Nest Predictor Tool.
This short video provides a great overview about how you can combine the Nest Predictor Tool and the National Nest Predation Survey to optimise outcomes.
Citizen scientists have discovered over 7,000 turtle nests across the Australia which played a role in the development of this user-friendly tool. This tool enables anyone to locate turtles in their very own local area.
This tool, known as the 'Predictive Turtle Mapping Tool' uses advanced mapping techniques to predict potential nesting sites for turtles around wetlands. If you're aware of a nearby urban park, golf course, or any other location with ponds, lakes, or drainage channels - this tool serves as an excellent starting point to discover if turtles have been nesting in your area.
Using the tool is straightforward. Just click on the button above on your computer or phone and allow it a brief moment to load.
This tool is powered by Google Maps. You can then zoom in on your local area or utilize the search function at the top of the screen. To start, type an address or point of interest - and the tool will display the corresponding location.
The predictive hotspots are color-coded, ranging from white to yellow, orange, and red. Red areas indicate a probability exceeding 85% of containing turtle-preferred nesting habitat (vegetation). Additionally, you can customize the map type and visual display according to your preference.
Check out the sections below to learn more about turtle nesting.
If you feel prepared, simply click the button above to start exploring the tool, and venture out to search for turtles and nests in your local area, particularly during the nesting season. Whenever you come across a nest or spot a turtle, please record your sighting through TurtleSAT.org.au or simply download the TurtleSAT App.
Female turtles emerge from the water during the nesting season (Spring for most species in southern Australia) and walk for some distance. Most are looking for the highest point in an open area so their eggs can avoid floods and be kept warm by the afternoon sun. Once they find their spot, they will use their back legs to dig a hole about 10-20cm deep. Their eggs are often eaten by predators like introduced foxes. It is a great opportunity to watch them in their natural environment.
For the eggs to survive and have a chance of hatching, turtles must lay their eggs in soil and sand. The hole is well constructed and open. Low vegetation with a good root system is key because the sun will warm the eggs and the nest structure won't collapse with lots of rain
As they are developing, the embryos breathe air through a membrane in the eggs, and so they cannot survive if they are continuously covered with water.
Once the female is done, she will carefully place soil over the top of the hole and then pat it down by lifting up and thumping it with her plastron (the bottom of her shell). She will then leave and the hatchling will emerge several months later. In some species, they will remain underground for over a year.
Northern long-necked turtles create their nests underwater at the end of the wet season in northern Australia. Embryonic development remains arrested until floodwaters recede in the dry season and the ground dries. Hatchling emergence presumably coincides with heavy rain or flooding at the beginning of the following wet season.
Close to 16,000 records have been recorded via the TurtleSAT App. Citizen Science at its finest!
Using remote sensing (satellites), we have been able to characterise their preferred habitats - which is what you will see in this predictive tool.
Turtles throughout the world are driven by similar environmental factors when they nest. Rain and the preference for open nest sites.
Remote sensing techniques characterise the land below by measuring changes in reflection as it passes over vegetation. Grass has different photosynthetic qualities than woodlands etc.
You can see in the above graph that turtle nested in a very narrow range of vegetation reflectance values. We can now use this to find other regions across the country with similar vegetation qualities.
You can see that predicted nest sites are in areas where some of the highest abundances of wetlands occur throughout Australia. But the tool is more complex than that.
This is Perth. Perth in general is not suitable for nesting for turtles, but if you zoom in, you can see vegetation oases throughout suburbia. A very important tool for managing our native fauna in these areas.
We encourage you to try out this tool and if you have any questions or would love to give us some feedback - well, we love to hear from you!
Next Spring, we will also be asking all Citizen Scientists to target these areas to help refine and validate the models.