Monitoring inshore seagrasses of the GBR and responses to water quality

McKenzie, Len, Collier, Catherine, Waycott, Michelle, Unsworth, Richard, Yoshida, Rudi, and Smith, Naomi (2012) Monitoring inshore seagrasses of the GBR and responses to water quality. In: Proceedings of the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium, pp. 1-5. From: 12th International Coral Reef Symposium, 9-13 July 2012, Cairns, QLD, Australia.

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Abstract

Seagrass are sensitive to environmental changes and can be monitored to detect human influences to coastal ecosystems. Measurable changes in seagrass abundance, distribution and condition provide resource managers with advance signs of deteriorating ecological conditions caused by poor water quality. For this reason, seagrasses are considered biological sentinels. The Great Barrier Reef's (GBR) inshore seagrasses are being monitored as part of the Reef Rescue Marine Monitoring Programme (MMP). Information from the program is being used to assess the long-term effectiveness of management actions in reversing decline in water quality of the GBR Marine Park. Since 2005, inshore seagrasses have been monitored across the six Natural Resource Management regions (NRMs) adjacent to the GBR World Heritage Area, south of Cooktown. Inshore seagrasses are currently monitored subregionally (habitats) at 30 sites using Seagrass-Watch as the basis. Results from the monitoring report annually on seagrass status and are incorporated into a report card for the health of the GBR. Seagrass community status is assessed using measures of seagrass abundance and reproductive effort, while epiphyte abundance and seagrass leaf tissue C:N:P elemental ratios (atomic) indicate the WQ environment. Modifiers such as edge mapping, in situ canopy temperature and in situ light are also used to interpret the data. The environmental status indicates progressive degraded water quality where plants were growing in low light environments, with relatively large phosphorus pool and excessive nitrogen pool. Further refinement of the indicators will enable greater use of these metrics for water quality management of the GBR.

Item ID: 22399
Item Type: Conference Item (Refereed Research Paper - E1)
Keywords: seagrass; monitoring; water quality; Seagrass-Watch; Reef Rescue; Great Barrier Reef
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ISBN: 978-0-9808572-5-2
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2012 04:06
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 30%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0607 Plant Biology > 060701 Phycology (incl Marine Grasses) @ 70%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960307 Effects of Climate Change and Variability on Australia (excl. Social Impacts) @ 100%
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