Seagrass Habitat of Mourilyan Harbour: annual monitoring report: 2015

Reason, Carissa, York, Paul, Scott, Emma, McKenna, Skye, and Rasheed, Michael (2016) Seagrass Habitat of Mourilyan Harbour: annual monitoring report: 2015. Report. TropWATER, James Cook University, Cairns, QLD, Australia.

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[Key Findings] 1. Overall seagrasses in Mourilyan Harbour remained in a very poor state with the continued absence of seagrass in all the intertidal monitoring meadows.

2. The subtidal channel meadow reduced in size and mean biomass from the previous year but remained in a good condition by historical standards.

3. Only one species (Halophila decipiens) was present in the monitoring meadows, however the first study of the broader harbour environment since 2000 recorded small meadows and isolated patches of Halodule uninervis, Enhalus acoroides and Halophila ovalis elsewhere in the harbour.

4. The foundation species (Zostera muelleri and Ha lodule uninervis) that had been continually present since monitoring began in 1993 until 2009 were absent for the sixth consecutive year.

5. The lack of recovery in foundation species despite improved growing conditions from 2012 may be due to a lack of seagrass propagules. Seedbank surveys over the last four years have found very low densities of Z. muelleri seeds, and in 2015 seeds were entirely absent.

6. In a regional context, seagrass at all long-term monitoring sites in the wet and dry tropics regions und erwent severe declines from 2009-11. Meadows to the north (Cairns Harbour) and south (Townsville) have now shown substantial recovery. Mourilyan Harbour remains the only location where no recovery of the key high biomass foundation species has occurred.

7. It is likely that assisted restoration will be required to re-establish viable Zostera muelleri in Mourilyan Harbour, given the lack of a seedbank and the areas isolation from any healthy nearby populations from which seeds or propagules could disperse.

Item ID: 44552
Item Type: Report (Report)
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A Report for Far North Queensland Ports Corporation Limited (Ports North)

Funders: Ports North (PN)
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2016 05:15
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 40%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring @ 60%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 100%
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