Liliane E. Dethier

Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Fall 5-12-2010

Major Department or Program



Timothy Parker


Elseya stirlingi ( Johns tone River snapping turtle ) is a little - studied species restricted to the Johnstone River catchment of Queensland, Australia . H alf the catchment’s old - growth rainforest has been cleared and riparian zones have suffered from the impact. For these reasons, t he Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service has listed E. stirlingi as a high priority species. My first goal was to address two hypotheses derived from previous studies : (1) riparian habitat modification results in less stable turtle populations and (2) turt l es prefer logs over other micro habitats. Although I did not find relationships between habitat modification and pop ulation density or sex ratio, I found fewer young turtles at more disturbed sites than at less disturbed sites, supporting my first hypothes is. I also found more turtles on log s than expected if turtles were distributed randomly among micro habitats. My second goal was to describe new natural history data about E. stirlingi depth and substrate preferences. Follow - up studies should build on thes e results to more conclusively determine this species’ conservation status.

Page Count


Subject Headings

Queensland, Snapping turtles, Reptiles -- Australia, Turtles, Endangered species, Habitat (Ecology) -- Modification, Turtle populations, Riparian area, Whitman College -- Dissertation collection 2010 -- Biology Department

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Public Accessible Thesis

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