What is it?
Monitoring of seagrass is undertaken to assess the health and composition of seagrass communities, and trends over space and time. Monitoring in relation to changes in local water quality is essential in evaluating long-term ecosystem health, and informing management actions to address threatening processes.
Examples of seagrass monitoring programs include:
Great Barrier Reef
Monitoring of seagrass (abundance, reproduction, nutrient status) is a key component informing the development of report cards for the Great Barrier Reef. Results are summarised in annual report cards. See details on seagrass indicators used in the marine reporting.
Regional report cards also assess the health of seagrass as part of more targeted reef report card programs. As an example, the Gladstone Harbour Report Card considers biomass, seagrass area and species composition. The Mackay-Whitsunday 2014 Pilot Report Card reports on seagrass abundance, reproduction and nutrient status.
Further information on the Queensland Government’s actions to protect and manage the Great Barrier Reef is available on the Great Barrier Reef website.
South East Queensland
Monitoring of ecosystem health in South East Queensland (including Moreton Bay) is reported through annual report cards by SEQ Healthy Waterways Ltd. These include a seagrass element comprising seagrass depth range and seagrass distribution.
More information on actions being taken to address water quality in the region, is available at Healthy Waterways.
University researchers and Seagrass Watch Australia also assess the health of seagrass communities.
Seagrass-Watch is the largest scientific, non-destructive, seagrass assessment and monitoring program in the world. Monitoring is currently occurring at over 205 sites, and numerous sites exist along Queensland’s coastline.
Seagrass-Watch raises awareness on the condition and trend of near shore seagrass ecosystems and provides an early warning of major coastal environment changes. Seagrass-Watch monitoring efforts are vital to assist with tracking global patterns in seagrass health, and assessing the human impacts with potential to destroy or degrade these coastal ecosystems.