Seagrass mapping synthesis: a resource for coastal management in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area

Carter, Alex B., McKenna, Skye A., Rasheed, Michael A., McKenzie, Len J., and Coles, Robert G. (2016) Seagrass mapping synthesis: a resource for coastal management in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Report. Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, Cairns, QLD, Australia.

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This project provides an up to date synthesis of the available information on seagrass in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA). It brings together more than 30 years of spatial information and data collection into easy to use spatial GIS layers that provide key information on species, meadow type and age and reliability of the data.

The project provides: Seagrass site and meadow-specific data in Geographic Information System (GIS) layers to provide seagrass data to inform research analysis and management advice.

A site layer that includes >66,000 individual survey sites with information including latitude/longitude, Natural Resource Management region, site depth, seagrass presence/absence, dominant seagrass species, presence/absence of individual species, survey date, survey method, and data custodian.

A meadow layer that includes 1169 individual and/or composite seagrass meadows with information including individual meadow persistence, meadow location (intertidal/subtidal), meadow density based on mean biomass and/or mean percent cover, meadow area, dominant seagrass species, seagrass species present, range of survey dates, survey method, and data custodian. Metadata to enable interpretation of the information and to identify the original data custodians for assistance with interpretation.

Outcomes: This study consolidates all available seagrass spatial data for the GBRWHA collected from 1984 to December 2014 by the TropWATER Seagrass Group and CSIRO in a GIS database.

It assembles and documents the state of spatial knowledge of seagrass in the GBRWHA.

The spatial data is based on methods developed by TropWATER and CSIRO for seagrass habitat surveys of subtidal meadows, and TropWATER methods for intertidal surveys. Methods include sampling by boat (free divers, underwater video camera, grabs, sled with net sampling), helicopter and walking.

447,530 hectares of seagrasses were mapped (modelled deep water seagrass areas are not included in area figures in this report) within the GBRWHA; much of which provides habitat for commercial and traditional fishery species, and an important food resource for dugong and green turtle populations.

Data is included for twelve seagrass species from three families. Seagrass was present at 39% of all sites visited.

The study identifies areas where much of the data available for management is more than 20 years old or where there are specific habitats unsurveyed. Large areas of central and northern Queensland require updating. Several key habitat types such as reef platform seagrass meadows are poorly represented in the data.

Item ID: 70851
Item Type: Report (Report)
ISBN: 978-1-925088-79-3
Keywords: seagrass, Great Barrier Reef, spatial, benthic habitat
Copyright Information: © TropWATER, James Cook University, 2016. Creative Commons Attribution.
Funders: National Environmental Science Program (NESP) Tropical Water Quality (TWQ) Hub
Projects and Grants: NESP 3.1
Research Data:
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2021 00:35
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1802 Coastal and estuarine systems and management > 180203 Coastal or estuarine biodiversity @ 50%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180504 Marine biodiversity @ 50%
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