Sea Turtles Wear Swimsuits for Science

Posted on October 9, 2015

University of Queensland (UQ) researchers have created swimsuits for sea turtles. The special suits enable researchers to easily collect fecal samples which are far more difficult to obtain once they are in the water.

A sea turtle hatchling is wearing one of the swimsuits in the above photograph. The swimsuits for the adult turtles - which can weigh up to 120 kilograms - are much larger.

The UQ researchers obtained second-hand shirts from a local charity shop and removed the sleeves. The shirts were given slits to make room for the tail. A fecal collector was built using Velcro attachments. The researchers say the suits fit the turtles comfortably.

Owen Coffee from the UQ's School of Biological Science says the swimsuits are like a "giant nappy." The loggerhead sea turtles are kept in seawater tanks at UQ’s Moreton Bay Research Station where the fecal samples are being collected. An adult loggerhead sea turtle wearing one of the swimsuit harnesses can be found here on Flickr.

The University says the sea turtles were returned to Moreton Bay free of their giant nappies after the samples were collected.

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