Torres Strait mapping: seagrass consolidation: 2002-2014

Carter, Alex, Taylor, Helen, and Rasheed, Michael (2014) Torres Strait mapping: seagrass consolidation: 2002-2014. Report. TropWATER, James Cook University, Cairns, QLD, Australia.

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Key Findings:

1. Torres Strait seagrass provides critical habitat for commercial and traditional fishery species, and an important food resource for dugong and green turtle populations.

2. This study consolidated seagrass spatial data collected between 2002 and 2014 by TropWATER and the TSRA into a Geographic Information System (GIS) database documenting the current state of knowledge of intertidal and subtidal meadows across the region.

3. The sampling methods applied were developed by the TropWATER Seagrass Group and CSIRO for seagrass habitat surveys of subtidal meadows; and TropWATER methods for port surveys and intertidal surveys in areas considered at high risk from shipping accidents in the Torres Strait. These included sampling by boat (free divers, underwater video camera, grabs, sled with net backing), helicopter, and walking.

4. Twelve seagrass species from 3 families were identified in intertidal and subtidal meadows between 2002 and 2014. Seagrass was present at 53% of intertidal sites, 53% of subtidal sites (TropWATER surveys), and 34% of subtidal sites from the 2005 CSIRO survey.

5. High seagrass biomass regions include the Warrior Reefs, the eastern edge of the Dugong Sanctuary subtidal meadow, and reef top meadows and surrounding islands between Prince of Wales Island and Orman Reefs.

6. Seagrass diversity hotspots were identified in meadows between Horn, Wednesday and Hammond Island, and between Badu and Moa Islands, and the eastern edge of the Dugong Sanctuary subtidal meadow.

7. Three Torres Strait regions were identified as data deficient, where basic knowledge of seagrass and benthic habitat is unknown or extremely limited (Map 23). These regions are (1) North of the Dugong Sanctuary, including the proposed Dugong Sanctuary extension area extending east to the Warrior Reefs, (2) Prince of Wales Island to western Cape York, and (3) Eastern Cape York and south east Torres Strait.

8. Future priorities for seagrass research in Torres Strait should focus on gathering information on seagrasses in data deficient regions identified in this report, extending the current data set to assess habitats at risk from shipping accidents across Torres Strait, and using this spatial data to model oil spill scenarios.

Item ID: 39681
Item Type: Report (Report)
Keywords: recovery, resilience, management, environmental monitoring, marine monitoring, marine water quality, seagrass, reproduction, seagrass habitats, Great Barrier Reef, port development, dredging
Additional Information:

Access: This report is openly accessible from the link to TropWATER's Technical Reports web page above.

Copyright: Please refer to the copyright statement in the report.

Funders: Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA)
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2015 06:12
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 50%
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