Scientist talks Turtles in Trouble
Attendees at Earthwatch’s first Meet the Scientist lecture series talk were treated to some turtle facts and figures and the chance to chat in person to leading marine ecologist Dr Kathy Townsend.
Dr Kathy Townsend, from the University of Queensland, began her talk with background information on marine turtles, of which there are seven species worldwide.
Dr Townsend's talk concentrated on her research into the impact of ingested rubbish on sea turtles, one of the biggest threats to sea turtles.
"Unfortunately the fate of many sea turtles is that they eat plastic rubbish which they have mistaken for jellyfish, a natural part of their diet, which in turn becomes lodged in their stomach and causes them to float," Dr Townsend said, "They are unable to feed on anything on the surface of the water and unfortunately many do not survive."
Dr Townsend explained the critical research she is doing on sea turtles, including turtle autopsies to see what plastics contributed to their mortality, to help reduce this big threat to their survival.
The evening also included moving footage of the "Pacific Plastic Soup", a massive concentration of floating plastic rubbish that has collected across the north of the Pacific Ocean. The plastic has been found to come from countries located around the Pacific Ocean, including Australia.
The talk raised over $300 which will go directly towards Dr Townsend's critical marine research. A big thank you to everyone who attended on the night and especially to Dr Kathy Townsend for inspiring us all to take action to protect our marine life.
For further information on how you can participate in Dr Townsend’s research, please visit Turtles in Trouble
and Project Manta
The Meet the Scientist lecture series is supported by the Sydney Aquarium Conservation Fund
. Talks will be held regularly throughout the year, showcasing some of the fantastic research occurring that you can get involved in. Further talks in this series will be posted on the Earthwatch website as they are finalised.