Science

The knowledge of the variety of forms and the threat condition is the basis for any species and nature conservation. In particular the knowledge about the diversity through systematic, taxonomic research with the help of genetics is the necessary tool for efficient protective measures.

In international co-operations we scientifically took root in the research of the diversity in turtles and tortoises.  In addition, the study of animals in human care provides important insights of their biology and ecology that can be implemented in the countries of origin. In this area our experience dates back for several decades. With the revenue we have will to support and initiate field surveys and projects in the countries of origin as well as creating awareness in local communities in turtle habitats.

Beside our effort to contribute to a sound taxonomy, we are focusing on improvements for keeping and breeding endangered species.

Our scientific focus is on:

  • Chelonian conservation, ecology and evolution
  • Linking in situ and ex situ conservation measurements
  • Population genetics, effective populations size and minimum viable population sizes for a long time survival of endangered species
  • Phylogeny and taxonomy of turtles and tortoises
  • The use of phylogenetic analyses to answer ecological and conservation related questions
  • Improvement of captive husbandry of chelonians for conservation related and educational reasons

We are in the process to conduct:

  • genetic studies based on microsatellites for establishing a studbook for the Northern River Terrapin
  • research on different incubation methods for sensitive species including sex determination and the phenomenon of diapaus
  • research on the phenomenon of macrocephaly in a few turtle species. We looking forward to initiate stable isotopes studies of big-headed versus non big-big headed animals of the same species to get a better knowledge of how much of the head size is due to diet and how much is genetic.

References, Publications

Praschag, P. & G. Fachbach (2001)
Beiträge zur Kenntnis der Assam-Dachschildkröte, Kachuga sylhetensis (Jerdon 1870)
(Reptilia: Testudines: Bataguridae)

Salamandra 37(3): 129-148

Praschag, P. & R. Gemel (2002)
Identity of the black softshell turtle Aspideretes nigricans (Anderson 1875)
with remarks on related species.

Faun. Abh. Mus. Tierk. Dresden 23: 87-116

Gemel, R., Praschag, P. (2003)
On the nomenclature and vernacular names of recent Aspideretes species (Reptilia, Testudines, Trionychidae). Zoologische Abhandlungen
Staatliches Museum fur Tierkunde in Dresden 53(1):93-105.

Praschag, P., Schmidt, C., Fritzsch, G., Müller, A.., Gemel, R. & U. Fritz (2006)
Geoemyda silvatica, an enigmatic turtle of the Geoemydidae (Reptilia: Testudines),
represents a distinct genus.

Organisms Diversity & Evolution 6 (2): 151-162.

Praschag, P., Hundsdörfer, A.K., Reza, A.H.M.A. & U. Fritz (2007)
Genetic evidence for wild-living Aspideretes nigricans and a molecular phylogeny of South Asian softshell turtles (Reptilia: Trionychidae: Aspideretes, Nilssonia)
Zoologica Scripta 36 (4): 301-310

Praschag, P., Hundsdörfer, A.K. & U. Fritz (2007)
Phylogeny and taxonomy of endangered South and South-east Asian freshwater turtles elucidated by mtDNA sequence variation (Testudines: Geoemydidae: Batagur, Callagur, Hardella, Kachuga, Pangshura).
Zoologica Scripta 36: 429–442.

Praschag, P., Sommer, R. S., McCarthy, C., Gemel, R. & U. Fritz, (2008)
Naming one of the world’s rarest chelonians, the southern Batagur.
Zootaxa 1758:61-68.

Praschag, P., Hundsdörfer, A.K. & U. Fritz (2009)
Further specimens and phylogenetic position of the recently described leaf turtle species Cyclemys gemeli (Testudines: Geoemydidae).
Zootaxa, 2008: 29-37.

Praschag, P., R. Holloway, A. Georges, M. Päckert, A. K. Hundsdörfer & U. Fritz (2009)
A new subspecies of Batagur affinis (Cantor, 1847), one of the world’s most critically endangered chelonians (Testudines: Geoemydidae).
Zootaxa 2233: 57-68.

Moll, E.O., Platt, K., Platt, S. G., Praschag P., & P.P.  van Dijk, (2009)
Batagur baska (Gray, 1830) – Northern River Terrapin. Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A compilation project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. A.G.J. Rhodin, P.C.H. Pritchard, P.P. van Dijk, R. A. Saumure, K. A. Buhlmann & J.B. Iverson, eds.
Chelonian Research Monographs, 5: 10 pp.

Praschag, P., Gibbons, P., Boyer, T., Wellehan, J., Garner, M., (2010)
An outbreak of intranuclear coccidiosis in Pyxis spp. tortoises.
In: Proceedings, 8th Annual Symposium on the Conservation and Biology of Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles Orlando, FL, USA, 32-33.

Das, I., Sengupta, S., and Praschag, P. (2010)
Pangshura sylhetensis Jerdon 1870 – Assam roofed turtle. In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Pritchard, P.C.H., van Dijk, P.P., Saumure, R.A., Buhlmann, K.A., Iverson, J.B., and Mittermeier, R.A. (Eds.). Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group.
Chelonian Research Monographs No. 5, pp. 046.1–046.6

Praschag, P., Stuckas, H., Päckert, M., Maran, J. & U. Fritz (2011)
Mitochondrial DNA sequences suggest a revised taxonomy of Asian flapshell turtles (Lissemys Smith, 1931) and the validity of previously unrecognized taxa (Testudines: Trionychidae).
Vertebrate Zoology, 61: 147-160

Kuchling, G., E. Goode & P. Praschag (2011)
Endoscopic Imaging of Gonads, Sex Ratio and Temperature Dependent Sex Determination in Captive Bred Juvenile Burmese Star Tortoises Geochelone platynota.
Asian Herpetological Research 2 (4): 240–244.

Fritz, U., Alcalde, L., Vargas-Ramírez, M., Goode,. E. V., Fabius-Turoblin, D. U. and Praschag, P. (2012)
Northern genetic richness and southern purity, but just one species in the Chelonoidis chilensis complex.
Zoologica Scripta, 41: 220–232. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-6409.2012.00533.x

Liebing N., Praschag P., Gosh R., Vasudevan K., Rashid SMA, Rao D-Q, Stuckas H & U. Fritz (2012)
Molecular phylogeny of the softshell turtle genus Nilssonia revisited, with first records of N. formosa for China and wild-living N. nigricans for Bangladesh.
Vertebrate Zoology, 62: 261-272.

Kuchling G., Goode E., Praschag P. (2013)
Endoscopic Imaging of Gonads, Sex Ratio, and Temperature Dependent Sex Determination in Juvenile Captive Bred Radiated Tortoises Astrochelys radiata. In Castellano C. M., Randriamahazo H., Lewis R. E., Mittermeier R. A., Hudson R., Rhodin A. G. J. (Eds.), Turtles on the Brink in Madagascar.
Chelon Res Monographs No. 6,pp. 113-118, doi: 10.3854/crm.6. Lunenburg, Massachusetts: Chelonian Research Foundation

Bhupathy, S., Webb, R.G, and Praschag, P. (2014)
Lissemys punctata (Bonnaterre 1789) – Indian Flapshell Turtle. In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Pritchard, P.C.H., van Dijk, P.P., Saumure, R.A., Buhlmann, K.A., Iverson, J.B., and Mittermeier, R.A. (Eds.). Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group.
Chelonian Research Monographs No. 5, pp. 076.1–12, doi:10.3854/crm.5.076.punctata.v1.2014
http://www.iucn-tftsg.org/cbftt/

Fritz, U., Gemel, R., Kehlmeier, Ch., Vamberger, M. and Praschag, P. (2014)
Phylogeography of the Asian softshell turtle Amyda cartilaginea (Boddaert, 1770): evidence for a species complex. Vertebrate Zoology, 64(2): 229-243.

Deepak, V., Praschag, P., and Vasudevan, K. (2014)
Vijayachelys silvatica (Henderson 1912) – Cochin Forest Cane Turtle. In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Pritchard, P.C.H., van Dijk, P.P., Saumure, R.A., Buhlmann, K.A., Iverson, J.B., and Mittermeier, R.A. (Eds.). Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. Chelonian Research Monographs No. 5, pp. 078.1–7, doi:10.3854/crm.5.078.silvatica.v1.2014, http://www.iucn-tftsg.org/cbftt/.

Moll, E.O., Platt, S.G., Chan, E.H., Horne, B.D., Platt, K., Praschag,  P., Chen, P.N., and van Dijk, P.P. (2015) Batagur affinis (Cantor 1847) – Southern River Terrapin, Tuntong. In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Pritchard, P.C.H., van Dijk, P.P., Saumure, R.A., Buhlmann, K.A., Iverson, J.B., and Mittermeier, R.A. (Eds.). Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. Chelonian Research Monographs 5(8):090.1–17, doi:10.3854/crm.5.090.affinis.v1.2015, http://www.iucn-tftsg.org/cbftt/.

Rovatsos, M., Praschag, P., Fritz, U. and Kratochvsl,L.(2017)
Sex chromosomes enable molecular sexing in softshell turtles (Trionychidae). Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 42150 (2017) doi:10.1038/srep42150

Praschag, P., Ihlow F., Flecks M., Vamberger M., Fritz U. (2017)
Diversity of North American map and sawback turtles (Testudines: Emydidae: Graptemys).
Zool Scr . 2017 ; 00 : 1 – 8 .
https://doi.org/10.1111/zsc.12249

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