Spatial data as a baseline for managing coastal seagrasses in Queensland, Australia

Carter, Alexandra, Coles, Robert, Grech, Alana, McKenna, Skye, Rasheed, Michael, McKenzie, Len, and Duke, Norman (2019) Spatial data as a baseline for managing coastal seagrasses in Queensland, Australia. In: [Presented at the CERF Biennial Conference]. From: The 25th Biennial CERF Conference, 3–7 November, 2019, Mobile, AL, USA.

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Queensland’s coasts have significant and diverse tropical seagrass habitats that we have mapped and researched. This includes the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBR) with ~35 000 km2 and Torres Strait with ~15 000 km2 of seagrass ecosystem. Programs have documented these seagrasses since the 1980s and early 2000s respectively including: (1) GBR-wide coastal seagrass mapping (1980s-1990s); (2) seabed biodiversity mapping (2004-2005); (3) mapping marine environments in Queensland’s shipping lanes and ports (2002-2014); (4) long-term (>15 years) mapping at Cairns, Thursday Island, Townsville, Abbot Point and Gladstone ports. 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 data available. We evaluated and incorporated over 300 seagrass spatial data sets (seagrass presence/absence, species present, dominant species, meadow area and survey date) and more than 60,000 data points spanning the 30 years into a publicly available set of GIS layers. This tool allows coastal managers and scientists to reliability interrogate seagrass data in these areas for management decision making. This data also provides a valuable benchmark; providing a long-term snapshot of seagrass meadow status and a base for modelling meadow response to spatial/temporal impacts. We look at a recent climate related ecological event in northern Australia and make a case for using our spatial approach and to advocate for improving both the reliability and availability of seagrass data.

Item ID: 70929
Item Type: Conference Item (Abstract / Summary)
Keywords: spatial, seagrass, Great Barrier Reef
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Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2021 00:45
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180501 Assessment and management of benthic marine ecosystems @ 100%
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