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Turtles of the Igapó: Their Ecology and Susceptibility to Mercury Uptake

  • Larissa SchneiderEmail author
  • Richard C. Vogt
Chapter

Abstract

This book chapter is the first literature specifically covering the turtles of the igapo environments of the Amazon. The flooding pulse of the igapo and its peculiar chemistry play a crucial role in turtle ecology, remarkably different from any other environments in the Amazon. Discussed inside this chapter is the definition of the igapo and the particular ecology and life of five turtle species most common in this environment: red-headed Amazon River turtle (Podocnemis erythrocephala), yellow-spotted Amazon River turtle (Podocnemis unifilis), giant South American river turtle (Podocnemis expansa), big-headed sideneck turtle (Peltocephalus dumerilianus), and matamata (Chelus fimbriata). These turtles have been historically exploited by human beings causing most of these turtles to be currently listed at some level of endangerment by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). They are also protected from international trade by CITES. How the economic development of the Amazon affected the turtles, including covering the most relevant threats and conservation management advice for each species, can also be found in this chapter. Finally, the end of this chapter explores how the unique chemistry of the igapo promotes the uptake of mercury (Hg) by turtles in igapo more efficiently than any other environment of the Amazon. Information in this chapter highlights the need for more direct application from the government agencies to protect these turtle species, through direct research and appropriate conservation in the igapo. The conservation measures provided in this chapter offer the protection turtles need so that populations levels will be maintained. So, turtles can still perform their ecologically functional duties of recycling plant protoplasm to animal matter to feed the predators of the igapo.

Keywords

Conservation Wildlife trade Traditional communities Blackwater Rio Negro Rio Guapore Rio Trombetas Podocnemis 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Jeremy Cradock and Bruce Forsberg for their valuable comments on this manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Archaeology and Natural History, Australian National UniversityCanberra, ACT.Australia
  2. 2.Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da AmazôniaManausBrazil
  3. 3.Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da AmazôniaManausBrazil

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