Griffith University, GCWA: Study Protects Blooming Seagrass

A landmark study into the light sensitivity of Gold Coast seagrass meadows has pinpointed how much light these vital sea life breeding and feeding grounds need to grow and thrive, Gold Coast Waterways Authority (GCWA) reports.

The study, undertaken by Griffith University on behalf of GCWA, looked at the impacts of light levels on growth and survival rates of seagrass meadows.

GCWA’s Chair, Mara Bún, said that seagrass also plays a vital role in responding to climate change because it’s able to store carbon faster than land-based plants making it an effective carbon sink.

”The study has come up with a recommended minimum number of hours of light exposure needed to maintain seagrass health. Those time periods will vary depending on the location of the seagrass, direct exposure to sunlight and time of day,” said Bún.

”We’ll work to incorporate those recommendations into activities such as our dredging programs for example, to minimize impacts on seagrass meadows so these marine nurseries are happy and healthy.”

Ms Bún said that the inclusion of light sensitivity thresholds adds to other measures GCWA is undertaking to improve seagrass protection including undertaking seagrass surveying and mapping prior to dredging programs commencing and regular water quality monitoring during dredging campaigns.

Griffith University project lead, Professor Rod Connolly, said that the research team assessed a range of data points including solar strength, cloud cover, wind speed and direction, boating traffic in areas being studied, water depth, distance from ocean inlets and time of day.

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