A PhD thesis has documented the status of seagrass and their sediment nutrient across a range of locations and species in the central region of the GBRWHA in the mid 1990s. The data in this thesis represents a baseline for ongoing assessment of status and trend of both the seagrass meadows surveyed and changes in the nutrient environment they inhabit. One key finding is that the status of seagrasses of this region is dependent upon a complex interaction between location, species, season and disturbance regime. In this proposed work, Jane Mellors will produce a series of publications for the international literature that will allow dissemination of her research. Outcomes: An improved understanding of the recent history of seagrasses and nutrients in the central region of the GBRWHA and a baseline data set for ongoing monitoring of changes in water quality and it’s affect on seagrasses.
Department of Primary Industries & Fisheries (DPI&F)
“This task addresses the issue of maintaining marine plant ecosystems and is integral to Program C – Maintaining ecosystem quality. The task will measure the health of marine plant species (productivity) and looking at causative factors influencing health.
This task is of significance to the 25 year Strategic Plan for the GBRWHA, as seagrasses are described as one of the biological communities which the GBRWHA ensures the persistence of (broad area 1. Conservation). This task is necessary to obtain and disseminate accurate and timely information on seagrasses (broad area 4. Research and Monitoring) which will help decision makers (broad area 2. Resource management; broad area 5. Integrated planning) and maximise community confidence (broad area 3. Education, communication, consultation and commitment) in decisions made regarding seagrasses in the GBRWHA.
An outcome will be maps of tropical seagrasses for management of the resource and assessment of possible impacts. Much of the seagrass mapping conducted in the GBRWHA is issue related (e.g. cyclone and flood events, dredging, coastal developments) and requires up-to-date maps for best practice management decisions.”