South Australian Hardshell Marine Turtles - Tourists, Strandings, or Residents?

Aub Strydom

Dataset credit

Data provider
Aubrey Strydom
Originating data center
Satellite Tracking and Analysis Tool (STAT)
Project partner
(In order of contact with Paddy:)
* WWO - Wildlife Welfare Organisation (SA) INC: First agency on beach - secure Paddy and notify SA Marine Parks: 16th March 2023.
* SA Marine Parks: Make decision to hold Paddy for Veterinary assessment, and 2 weeks later organize her release.
* Dr Anne Fowler, Adelaide Bird & Exotics Vet Centre: X-Ray Paddy to eliminate possibility of ingested foreign objects and hold her for the night of 16th March 2023.
* RSPCA SA: Transport Paddy to the Zoo on 17th March and to the release site on 31st March.
* Zoos SA - Adelaide Zoo: 17th March: Place her in fresh water for re-hydration, then daily clean seawater, and determine she is not a floater. Examine bloods & feces, and feed and care for Paddy for 2 weeks.
* Aub Strydom: 31st March deploy & sponsor the KiwiSat202 tracker & ARGOS data.


Primary contact Aubrey Strydom Aubrey Strydom
Data entry Michael Coyne


Strydom A. 2024. South Australian Hardshell Marine Turtles - Tourists, Strandings, or Residents?. Data downloaded from OBIS-SEAMAP ( on yyyy-mm-dd and originated from Satellite Tracking and Analysis Tool (STAT;


Hardshell marine turtles - most commonly greens and loggerheads are occasionally found alive or dead on South Australian beaches.
Often they are not in good condition, and require rehabilitation.
Paddy is an exception, and was fat and healthy, measuring 89.5cm and weighing 83kg.
She was found at Middleton Beach 16th March 2023 in a large amount of seaweed, which may have restricted and exhausted her.
She arrived at Adelaide Zoo on St Patricks Day 17th March 2023 - hence the name Paddy.
She spent the next 2 weeks being examined and cared for by the Vets and Nurses at Adelaide Zoo.
After discussion with Marine Science turtle experts in Western Australia and Queensland - the decision was made by Marine Parks SA to release her on 31st March close to where she was found - Rapid Bay was chosen - away from the weed that may have slowed her swimming.
Her satellite tracker was borrowed at very short notice from the Marine Science section of the WA Parks and Wildlife, and has shown her first head North up Gulf St Vincent, where she reached the head on 13th April.
She basked on mudflats near Port Wakefield on 14th April, and for a second time on an isolated beach 27km north of Port Adelaide's Outer Harbour on 22nd April, after gradually swimming back down from the top of Gulf St Vincent.
She spent more than a week from the 24th April in the Port Adelaide estuary, and soon after 1st May swam across the Gulf to be 5km off the coast of the Yorke Peninsula on 5th May and began heading south until 10th May 2023, when she rounded the heel of the Peninsula at Troubridge Shoal Lighthouse, and began swimming west.
She followed the southern coast of Yorke Peninsula at about 17km a day, then swam NW at 51km a day, crossing 140km of deep water in lower Spencer Gulf in less than 3 days to get to the coast of Eyre Peninsula on 19th May 2023.
On 23rd May her temperature was 15.2C. She moved up into Franklin Harbour Marine Park for over a week. This bay is rich in seagrass, and she had plenty to forage on here.
On June 7th she was 60km north of Franklin Harbour, heading up the middle of Spencer Gulf, and began using an area on the eastern side about 7-25km south west of Port Pirie on the 9th June.
From 9th to 30th June to she remained here, foraging in an area 20km long and between 1km to 3km offshore. Then she slowly moved North towards Port Augusta, foraging south of the city for a month. Her coldest overwinter temperature was here at 8.2C, but for most of July was in the range 11C to 13C. From mid August she was hanging between the car and rail bridge in Pt Augusta, and in late August to mid September her temperature went up to stay between 15.2C and 15.5C.
During October she averaged around 17C, ranging 15C to 19.2C, having moved halfway down the eastern side of Spencer Gulf to the southern end of Moonta Bay, remaining mostly in nearshore shallow waters.
She turned north west here on 24th October, and reached the eastern side of the Eyre Peninsula again on the 1st November, moving up to spend over a week just north of Whyalla till November 14th.
By 16th November she was back up in the very upper end of Spencer Gulf, with just 3km of sea left before the start of the arid lands.
For November her temperature ranged between 17.2C and 22.2C, and by the end of November she had moved 70km south to again be around Whyalla.
She then traveled down the coast to arrive at Port Lincoln and spend most of December there. Her last location was on 30th December and the final signal came on 1st January 2024. The battery was still good, so some possibilities include that she damaged the tracker, scrubbed it off, or it became so bio-fouled that the saltwater switch no longer operates.

The results from her DNA test suggest she most likely hatched in the Southern Great Barrier Reef - her size suggests about 35 years ago.
Her travels suggest she is a local SA resident forager, and not passing through, and she is the first hardshell turtle known to overwinter in South Australian waters, and the first to be tracked foraging in the two Gulfs.



Supplemental information

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This section explains attributes included in the original dataset. OBIS-SEAMAP restricts the attributes available to the public to date/time, lat/lon and species names/counts only. Should you need other attributes described here, you are encouraged to contact the data provider.

Attributes described below represent those in the original dataset provided by the provider.
Only minimum required attributes are visible and downloadable online. Other attributes may be obtained upon provider's permission.

Attributes in dataset

Attribute (table column)Description
prognumProgram number
tag_idPTT ID
lcLocation class
iqQuality indicator
dir1Dir 1
nb_mesNumber of messages received
big_nb_mesdefinition not provided
best_levelBest signal strength in dB
pass_durationPass duration in seconds
nopcNumber Of Plausibility Checks successful (from 0-4)
calcul_freqCalculated frequency
altitudeAltitude used for location calculation
speciesSpecies name
project_idSTAT Project ID
lc_filterParameters to location filtering
speed_filterParameters to speed filtering
distance_filterParameters to distance filtering
topo_filterParameters to topo filtering
time_filterParameters to time filtering
angle_filterParameters to angle filtering
life_stageLife stage of the animal
genderGender of the animal
wetdryWet or dry
wetdry_filterParameters to Wet or dry filterint
obs_datetimeDate and time (local time zone)
timezone_hTime difference from UTC
Marine mammals0
Sea turtles131
Rays and sharks0
Other species0
Non spatial0
Non species0
Date, Begin
Date, End
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude-43.34 - -32.41
Longitude135.63 - 183.46
Coord. prec.3 decimal digits
Data typeTelemetry location
TracklinesYES (ID: 2254)
Traveled (km)5,849
Travel hours6,375
Contr. throughSatellite Tracking and Analysis Tool
Sharing policy Permission required
Shared with SWOT
GBIF (via DOI)*
* Aggregated summary
See metadata in static HTML
See metadata in FGDC XML
See download history / statistics