The provincial government is providing money to help study the at-risk turtle population on Manitoulin Island.

Last fall, Laurentian University researchers sounded the alarm after finding over 50 dead turtles in Misery Bay Provincial Park. Their deaths remain a mystery.

Laurentian herpetologist Jackie Litzgus brought the turtles back to her office to study them.

There were several theories about what could have happened.

One theory was that they were killed by Ranovirus, a disease that could wipe out the whole population of turtles.

Now, the government of Ontario is providing $80,000 in support of further research. That's enough money to send a team to monitor the turtles and to afford things like radio tracking equipment and virus testing.

Jackie Litzgus

Jacqueline Litzgus is a herpetologist at Laurentian University. (Chris Berube/CBC)

Litzgus said the funding will make an important difference.

"All those important things are being covered and the funds are being matched by money from Laurentian to help pay for the graduate student,” she said.

"We can't recover a population of an animal that lives 75-100 years in just two years. But what we can do is make some plans for what we need to do long-term."

Litzgus said she's hopeful this information will help save the population.