WAMSI: Recovering Potential of Pilbara Seagrasses

Research from the WAMSI Dredging Science Node has provided new insight into how seagrasses in the Pilbara may recover from disturbance events such as dredging.   

While some seagrasses can potentially recover from dredging related pressures over a 200 kilometer radius, others require another meadow within five kilometers to survive, or need to be regenerated from a seed bank.

The research, which is important to the ongoing management of the region’s coastal biodiversity, has produced the first real insight into the genetic variability of the area’s seagrass and the level of connectivity among different seagrass populations.

Pilbara seagrass meadows are an important source of food and habitat for the endangered dugong, sea turtles and prawns, the latter of which makes up part of the region’s multi-million dollar commercial fishing industry.

Seagrasses tend to be found in the coastal zone and grow in soft sand and muddy sediment but some species can also grow on reefs. They are found in more shallow water to a depth of 10 meters, but can be found in clear water down to 50-60 meters.

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