Dynamics of a deep-water seagrass population on the Great Barrier Reef: annual occurrence and response to a major dredging program

York, Paul H., Carter, Alex B., Chartrand, Kathyrn, Sankey, Tonia, Wells, Linda, and Rasheed, Michael A. (2015) Dynamics of a deep-water seagrass population on the Great Barrier Reef: annual occurrence and response to a major dredging program. Scientific Reports, 5. 13167. pp. 1-9.

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Global seagrass research efforts have focused on shallow coastal and estuarine seagrass populations where alarming declines have been recorded. Comparatively little is known about the dynamics of deep-water seagrasses despite evidence that they form extensive meadows in some parts of the world. Deep-water seagrasses are subject to similar anthropogenic threats as shallow meadows, particularly along the Great Barrier Reef lagoon where they occur close to major population centres. We examine the dynamics of a deep-water seagrass population in the GBR over an 8 year period during which time a major capital dredging project occurred. Seasonal and inter-annual changes in seagrasses were assessed as well as the impact of dredging. The seagrass population was found to occur annually, generally present between July and December each year. Extensive and persistent turbid plumes from a large dredging program over an 8 month period resulted in a failure of the seagrasses to establish in 2006, however recruitment occurred the following year and the regular annual cycle was re-established. Results show that despite considerable inter annual variability, deep-water seagrasses had a regular annual pattern of occurrence, low resistance to reduced water quality but a capacity for rapid recolonisation on the cessation of impacts.

Item ID: 40127
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
Keywords: seagrass; dredging; recovery; Halophila
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Funders: North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP), BHP Mitsubishi Alliance
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2015 01:09
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 30%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0607 Plant Biology > 060799 Plant Biology not elsewhere classified @ 40%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 30%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 100%
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