Declines of seagrasses in a tropical harbour, North Queensland, Australia, are not the result of a single event

McKenna, Skye, Jarvis, Jessie, Sankey, Tonia, Reason, Carissa, Coles, Robert, and Rasheed, Michael (2015) Declines of seagrasses in a tropical harbour, North Queensland, Australia, are not the result of a single event. Journal of Biosciences, 40 (2). pp. 389-398.

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Abstract

A recent paper inferred that all seagrass in Cairns Harbour, tropical north-eastern Australia, had undergone 'complete and catastrophic loss' as a result of tropical cyclone Yasi in 2011. While we agree with the concern expressed, we would like to correct the suggestion that the declines were the result of a single climatic event and that all seagrass in Cairns Harbour were lost. Recent survey data and trend analysis from an on-ground monitoring program show that seagrasses in Cairns Harbour do remain, albeit at low levels, and the decline in seagrasses occurred over several years with cyclone Yasi having little additional impact. We have conducted annual on-ground surveys of seagrass distribution and the above-ground meadow biomass in Cairns Harbour and Trinity Inlet since 2001. This has shown a declining trend in biomass since a peak in 2004 and in area since it peaked in 2007. In 2012, seagrass area and above-ground biomass were significantly below the long-term (12 year) average but seagrass was still present. Declines were associated with regional impacts on coastal seagrasses from multiple years of above-average rainfall and severe storm and cyclone activity, similar to other nearby seagrass areas, and not as a result of a single event.

Item ID: 39136
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0973-7138
Keywords: decline; management; ports; seagrass; tropical
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Freely available from Indian Academy of Sciences website. See the Related URLs link below.

Funders: Ports North, Trinity Inlet Management Program
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2015 03:11
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 60%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960307 Effects of Climate Change and Variability on Australia (excl. Social Impacts) @ 10%
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