Teeny-tiny swimsuits for turtles have a serious purpose

By Sarah Harvey

KATHY TOWNSEND/THE UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND
KATHY TOWNSEND/THE UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND

A teeny-tiny turtle in a teeny-tiny swimsuit is helping in important research.

Researchers at the University of Queensland, in the midst of a three-year project to try and identify and better protect the habitats of sea turtles, such as the loggerhead and green turtle, are using some unusual techniques to gather data, according to Mashable Australia.

University of Queensland PhD student Owen Coffee said he was using minature outfits for the turtles in order to assist in the collection of their droppings – from there researchers will be able to identify what food the turtles are eating and therby where they are living.

A loggerhead turtle. LUCY TRIPPETT/THE UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND
A loggerhead turtle. LUCY TRIPPETT/THE UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND

 

Coffee said the team initially built a funnel that could be anchored on the shell of the turtle to collect the samples, but this wasn’t enough.

“The issue I was having was [the funnels] were being flicked off by the turtles, which are quite large and strong,” he told Mashable.

This is where the swimsuit comes in. The outfits are only used temporarily before the animals are released to the wild.

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