Muddy waters: the influence of high suspended-sediment concentration on the diving behaviour of a bimodally respiring freshwater turtle from north-eastern Australia

Schaffer, Jason R., Hamann, Mark, Rowe, Richard, and Burrows, Damien W. (2016) Muddy waters: the influence of high suspended-sediment concentration on the diving behaviour of a bimodally respiring freshwater turtle from north-eastern Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research, 67 (4).

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Abstract

Increased suspended-sediment concentrations (SS) in rivers can affect aquatic respiration in riverine fauna by impairing respiratory function. Bimodally respiring freshwater turtles are likely to be sensitive to changes in SS because increased concentrations may affect their ability to aquatically respire. However, the impact of SS on the diving behaviour of bimodally respiring freshwater turtles has not been formally investigated. To test this, we examined the influence of dissolved oxygen (DO) saturation (25%, 100%) and temperature (17°C, 25°C) on the diving behaviour of Elseya irwini under clear (0 mg L–1) and turbid (79 mg L–1) conditions. We hypothesised that low temperature and high DO % saturation would increase dive duration and that high SS would negate the effect of DO, decreasing dive duration under highly oxygenated conditions. Our data demonstrated that increased SS significantly reduced mean dive duration by 73% (97.4 ± 10.1 min in 0 mg L–1 trials v. 26.4 ± 3.2 min in 79 mg L–1 trials) under conditions of low temperature (17°C) and high DO % saturation (100%) only. Increased SS directly affects the utilisation of DO by this species, so as to extend submergence times (aquatic respiration) under optimal conditions, raising concerns about the effect of SS on the persistence of populations of physiologically specialised freshwater turtles.

Item ID: 40807
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1448-6059
Keywords: aquatic respiration, dive duration, Elseya, turbidity
Funders: Queensland Department for Natural Resources and Water
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2015 03:00
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060203 Ecological Physiology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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