Measuring the extent of coastal benthic habitats is an important indicator of biodiversity, and is essential for the assessment of environmental change. This project aims to; Assess the geomorphology and sediments in order to better identify the distributions of distinctive biological communities; Develop a standardised geomorphological classification system for benthic features that can be applied across the various study regions and nationally; Improve the accessibility to the new acoustic datasets and image products by housing them in a national database linked with OzEstuaries
“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.”