Spatial management tools for coastal seagrasses in Queensland, Australia

Carter, A., Coles, R., McKenna, S., and Rasheed, M. (2017) Spatial management tools for coastal seagrasses in Queensland, Australia. In: Proceedings of the Australasian Coasts & Ports 2017 Conference, pp. 226-232. From: Proceedings of the Australasian Coasts & Ports 2017 Conference, 21-23 June 2017, Cairns, QLD, Australia.

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Abstract

Seagrasses are one of the most productive marine habitats and provide a variety of ecosystem services with substantial economic value. Queensland's coasts and ports have significant and diverse seagrass habitat including one of the world's largest seagrass ecosystems ( 35 000 km2) in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) World Heritage Area and 15 000 km2 of seagrass in Torres Strait. Key to understanding and managing this important ecosystem is reliable data on seagrass distribution, species composition, and how this changes through time. A range of mapping and monitoring programs with spatial data have documented Queensland's east coast seagrasses since the 1980s and Torres Strait seagrass since the early 2000s. These include: (1) GBR-wide coastal seagrass mapping (1980s-1990s); (2) seabed biodiversity mapping (2004-2005); (3) mapping marine environments in areas identified as high risk for Queensland's shipping lanes and ports as part of the oil spill response atlas (2002-2014); (4) long-term monitoring programs for coastal ports (ongoing). Until recently managers could not access the full suite of seagrass spatial data in a format that included a range of spatial scales, site and meadow information; nor could they interrogate the reliability and age of the dataset. To address this we found, evaluated and incorporated over 300 seagrass spatial data sets from Queensland's east coast and Torres Strait spanning 30 years (1984- 2014) into a now publicly available suite of GIS layers. We included information on seagrass presence/absence, species present, dominant species, meadow area and survey date. This tool allows coastal managers and scientists to interrogate seagrass data according to their specific needs. It can be used to inform habitat and management zoning. It will enable a better understanding of seagrass change and will identify regions of key dugong and turtle habitat, regions where seagrass information is deficient, and where seagrass exists in high-risk areas.

Item ID: 53380
Item Type: Conference Item (Refereed Research Paper - E1)
Additional Information:

management, mapping, risk, seagrass, spatial

ISBN: 978-1-922107-91-6
Funders: National Environmental Science Programme, Tropical Water Quality Hub, TropWATER, James Cook University, Torres Strait Regional Authority
Date Deposited: 08 May 2018 22:56
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050102 Ecosystem Function @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060310 Plant Systematics and Taxonomy @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
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