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New individual of world’s rarest turtle found in Hanoi

Caren Goldberg
Caren Goldberg

The fourth known living Swinhoe’s Softshell Turtle (Rafetus swinhoei), the world’s most endangered turtle species, has been found at Xuan Khanh Lake on the outskirts of Hanoi, thanks to efforts of the Asian Turtle Programme (ATP) of Indo-Myanmar Conservation (IMC), a UK based conservation charity, and help from Washington State University environmental scientist Caren Goldberg.

The animals are secretive, surfacing and basking rarely, preferring to spend time in the depths of the lakes. This makes positive identification of the animals that are reported extremely difficult and time consuming.

To help with this the ATP/IMC has teamed up with Goldberg and the US Turtle Survival Alliance to explore the use of environmental DNA (eDNA) to find the species. eDNA is a relatively new technique for which Dr. Goldberg was an early pioneer, the technique relies on detecting the tiniest amounts of DNA in samples of water collected in the area of interest to confirm that the species is present. The technique has often been used for fish and amphibians but the methods have only recently been applied to endangered turtles.

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Nhan Dan


VN Express

Researcher sees how forests thrive after fires and volcanoes

Mount St. Helens landscape
Mount St. Helens Johnston Ridge, 25 years later - courtesy Wikipedia.

Forests hammered by windstorms, avalanches, and wildfires may appear blighted, but a Washington State University researcher says such disturbances can be key to maximizing an area’s biological diversity.

In fact, says Mark Swanson, land managers can alter their practices to enhance such diversity, creating areas with a wide variety of species, including rare and endangered plants and animals.

“The 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, for example, has created very diverse post-eruption conditions, and has some of the highest plant and animal diversity in the western Cascades range,” says Mark Swanson, an assistant professor of landscape ecology and silviculture in Washington State University’s School of the Environment.

Swanson, who has studied disturbed areas on Mount St. Helens and around western North America, presents his findings this week at the national convention of the Ecological Society of America in Portland. » More …