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Experimental evidence for density-dependent responses to mortality of snake-necked turtles


Fordham, DA and Georges, A and Brook, BW, Experimental evidence for density-dependent responses to mortality of snake-necked turtles, Oecologia, 159, (2) pp. 271-281. ISSN 0029-8549 (2009) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2008 Springer-Verlag

DOI: doi:10.1007/s00442-008-1217-5


Density-dependent compensation has rarely been demonstrated in long-lived vertebrates in highly variable environments, such as the wet–dry tropics, where complex factors impact on vital rates. We used an experimental manipulation of population density in six replicated wild populations of the northern snake-necked turtle (Chelodina rugosa). We show that this species can rebound rapidly following reductions in density, and so is resilient to harvest and predation by pigs. Remarkably, in some populations, turtle abundance took as little as 1 year to recover from a strong negative perturbation (>50% experimental population reduction) in adult density. This was achieved through an increase in hatchling recruitment and survival into larger size classes. Our manipulative experiments, viewed concomitantly with previous experimental and correlative research, challenge the general perceptions that freshwater turtles universally are highly susceptible to any form of off-take and that high sub-adult and adult survival is crucial for achieving long-term population stability in freshwater turtles generally. In the case of C. rugosa, such generalities would produce overly cautious prescriptions for sustainable management.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Chelidae, population manipulation, population regulation, juvenile recruitment, wildlife utilisation
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Population ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Other environmental management
Objective Field:Other environmental management not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Brook, BW (Professor Barry Brook)
ID Code:116114
Year Published:2009
Web of Science® Times Cited:19
Deposited By:Biological Sciences
Deposited On:2017-05-02
Last Modified:2017-08-29

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