A day in the life of a turtle researcher…
Interview with our Turtle Research Assistant Liz Lockwood
Located in the breathtaking natural surrounds of Eco Beach Resort, this scientific research program collects valuable data on nesting Flatback Turtles. With the guidance of Conservation Volunteers marine species research assistants, volunteers spend their time patrolling sections of the beach gathering scientific data on the species.
What’s in a day?
The sea turtles come up to the beach to lay their eggs and nest at night time, either 3 hours before or 3hours after high tide. It’s by chance you may see them emerging from the water, absolutely glistening. And most importantly, with the Australian Flatback Turtles they are listed as data deficient; so we do need more information to know whether they’re an endangered species so we can place more conservation efforts on this marine species.
The best thing?
The best thing about the Eco Beach project is actually the whole process, just knowing the background story of the sea turtles. “1 in 1000 make it from a hatchling to a mature turtle. And seeing them come back to the same beach and watching them grow up is the best thing”.
The most challenging?
For the researchers in particular its getting into the routine of monitoring all hours of the night and walking on soft sand. So a researcher will typically walk 14 kilometres and a volunteer will walk at a maximum of 7 kilometres so its important to be reasonably fit.
How do volunteers get involved?
Volunteer jobs are divided with each person allocated a role to record data either measuring or counting the eggs. A qualified researcher then wrangles the turtle while the assistant holds the flipper for tagging and monitoring purposes.