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Fish and Turtle Productions

Ebner fish & turtle productions
An eel is feeding on the bait in the main image, whereas, the underwater camera and bait equipment is shown in the inset

A successful collaboration between researchers from TropWATER, the Australian National University and the Australian Rivers Institute researchers tested the usefulness of underwater video to detect fish and turtles in the Australian Wet Tropics.

Published in the journal Marine and Freshwater Research a paper entitled 'Filming and snorkelling as visual techniques to survey fauna in difficult to access tropical rainforest streams' centres on a case study in Harvey Creek south of Cairns.

Long-time TropWATER herpetologist, Jason Schaffer, is a fan of both these survey methods. He was quick to note, "This paper shows how relatively low-cost baited underwater video provides a useful means for detecting turtles in clear water streams".

Co-author and pro-snorkeler, James Donaldson commented, "There is still no substitute for getting in the stream and having a good look around", whereas, ageing veteran, Brendan Ebner tempered his colleagues headline with the remark that "Viewing things from the comfort of the couch is not a bad way to be".

Regardless, there are several North Queensland streams where the gator remains king, leaving a certain appeal to simply lowering a camera into the drink for getting the job done.

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