ABSTRACT

Field Island in Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, Australia, supports a nesting population of flatback turtles (Natator depressus) monitored since 1990. We summarize 9 years of survey data for this location and make recommendations for future research. At least 221 nesting flatbacks were tagged at Field Island between 1990 and 2001. Nightly emergence rates indicate that Field Island is a locally and regionally important rookery for flatbacks with no other species recorded nesting. The mean interseasonal remigration period was 2.82 years. Female flatbacks laid clutches of similar sizes to those reported for other Australian rookeries, but nests tended to be deeper than those on nearby mainland beaches. No evidence of size decline (curved carapace length) occurred over the years, and mean curved carapace length was similar to those observed at other nesting rookeries. The amount of biological information now available for the Field Island rookery and the number of nesting turtles already tagged makes it valuable as an index site for flatback turtles in northern Australia.

You do not currently have access to this content.