Torres Strait Seagrass 2018 Report Card

Carter, A.B., Mellors, J.E., and Rasheed, M.A. (2018) Torres Strait Seagrass 2018 Report Card. Report. James Cook University, Cairns, QLD, Australia.

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Abstract

Seagrass meadows show measurable responses to changes in environmental condition, so are ideal sensitive receptors for monitoring marine environmental health.

Torres Strait contains some of the most extensive seagrass meadows of northern Australia. Torres Strait Island communities rely on coastal marine habitats for subsistence, and have strong cultural and spiritual links to these environments.

This report provides the first integrated condition assessment of Torres Strait seagrass using a report card approach. Seagrass was graded from A (very good) to E (very poor) relative to baseline conditions, and scored on a 0–1 scale.

Data used in this report card comes from the Torres Strait Seagrass Monitoring Program (TSSMP), which incorporates the Torres Strait Seagrass Observers Program, Ranger Subtidal Monitoring Program, Queensland Ports Seagrass Monitoring Program, and Reef-top Monitoring Program.

Thirty-one sites/meadows were classified for this report card across four Torres Strait Island Clusters. Seagrass condition in all clusters was good.

The majority of individual sites/meadows were in good condition. Only one monitoring site in the entire Torres Strait monitoring network received a poor score in 2018, site MR2 (Lei) at Mer Island, which was likely a reflection of a localised change in condition at that particular site. No condition indicators or overall grades were very poor in 2018.

The program will be substantially improved as it matures and more sites/meadows build 10 years of baseline information.

We recommend: (1) establishing monitoring in the Top-Western Cluster where no monitoring currently occurs, (2) expanding meadow-scale monitoring and subtidal block monitoring to include examples in all island clusters, (3) establishing additional intertidal transect monitoring in the central island cluster, and (4) establishing monitoring meadows in the inner cluster away from anthropogenic impacts at Thursday Island. These additions would vastly improve the mix of information and provide a more reliable assessment of seagrass condition and change in the region.

Item ID: 70847
Item Type: Report (Report)
Keywords: seagrass, Torres Strait, report card, monitoring
Copyright Information: © James Cook University, 2018.
Funders: Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA)
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2021 00:28
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410402 Environmental assessment and monitoring @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180501 Assessment and management of benthic marine ecosystems @ 100%
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