Turtles living at Shoalwater Bay survived Cyclone Marcia.
Turtles living at Shoalwater Bay survived Cyclone Marcia. Brett Wortman

Turtles survived Marcia but food supply in danger

WHILE Tropical Cyclone Marcia was a category five and crossing Shoalwater Bay last Friday, eight turtles lounging around on the bottom of the bay would have received quite a shock.

The turtles - five green and three flatback - have been fitted with tracking devices as part of a James Cook University study into their habitats.

The turtles live in Shoalwater Bay - exactly the same place where Marcia crossed the Queensland coast.

But JCU researcher Mark Hamann said the turtles would not have been severely impacted.

"The turtles wouldn't have known there was anything coming," Associate Professor Hamann said.

"They would have been sitting there, sleeping, eating and all of sudden their world would have shook for a couple of hours."

Even following the cyclone he said the turtles had not moved out of the bay.

He also said the flatbacks mostly lived just outside the bay and were probably not as affected by Marcia because they were in deeper water.

But he said the cyclone could have impacted the turtle's habitat and food supply.

"Shoalwater Bay... is one of the most significant seagrass and mangrove habitats in Queensland," he said.

"A very large population of green turtles and dugongs and marine species are living there."

He said turtles could change their food source if they needed too, and eat algae, but dugongs were more vulnerable.

- APN NEWSDESK


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