Protection of Great Barrier Reef seagrasses through innovative port industry and science research partnerships

Rasheed, Michael A., McKenna, Skye, Coles, Rob, and Carter, Alex (2017) Protection of Great Barrier Reef seagrasses through innovative port industry and science research partnerships. In: Proceedings of the Australasian Coasts & Ports 2017 Conference. pp. 910-916. From: Australasian Coasts & Ports 2017 Conference: working with nature, 21-23 June 2017, Cairns, QLD, Australia.

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Abstract

The Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA) includes one of the world's largest areas of seagrass (around 40,000 km2) including 20% of the world's species. Coastal development including expanding urban centres and ports poses a significant threat to seagrasses in the region. Mitigating anthropogenic and natural threats to seagrass requires a method to effectively quantify the resource for management and the development of management tools to protect and quantify change. The Queensland Ports Seagrass Monitoring Program conducts long-term seagrass mapping and monitoring in the majority of Queensland's commercial ports and a range of targeted research for management application. We present the major elements of the program and the latest results to demonstrate how effective research and industry partnerships can help solve the challenges facing seagrasses and other coastal habitats at high risk from development.

Monitoring focuses on seagrass habitat that is most "at risk" from the various threats that seagrasses face, providing port managers and regulators with key information to plan and implement port development and maintenance programs that will have minimal impact on seagrasses. The program has been successful in changing coastal development and ports and shipping industry practices, and has improved the ability of managers to protect marine habitats. In addition the industry partnership has led to major research programs including developing new molecular tools to rapidly assess the health of seagrasses; development of appropriate management triggers and thresholds for light and turbidity; investigating seagrass resilience and recovery; quantifying productivity of tropical seagrass systems; valuing the ecosystem services seagrasses provide and deciphering the role climate plays in shaping tropical seagrass change. In addition the extensive spatial network provides excellent information on the overall condition and trend of seagrasses in the GBRWHA providing great context when combined with other seagrass monitoring efforts in the region.

Item ID: 53387
Item Type: Conference Item (Research - E1)
ISBN: 978-1-922107-91-6
Keywords: seagrass, ports, Great Barrier Reef, monitoring
Date Deposited: 08 May 2018 22:53
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050204 Environmental Impact Assessment @ 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 > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960701 Coastal and Marine Management Policy @ 50%
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