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Seagrass-Watch: Engaging Torres Strait Islanders in marine habitat monitoring

Mellors, J.E. and McKenzie, L.J. and Coles, R.G. (2008) Seagrass-Watch: Engaging Torres Strait Islanders in marine habitat monitoring. Continental Shelf Research, 28 (16). pp. 2339-2349.

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Article Link(s): http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.csr.2008.03.041

Publisher URL: http://www.elsevier.com

Abstract

Involvement in scientifically structured habitat monitoring is a relatively new concept to the peoples of Torres Strait. The approach we used was to focus on awareness, and to build the capacity of groups to participate using Seagrass-Watch as the vehicle to provide education and training in monitoring marine ecosystems. The project successfully delivered quality scientifically rigorous baseline information on the seasonality of seagrasses in the Torres Strait-a first for this region. Eight seagrass species were identified across the monitoring sites. Seagrass cover varied within and between years. Preliminary evidence indicated that drivers for seagrass variability were climate related. Generally, seagrass abundance increased during the north-west monsoon (Kuki), possibly a consequence of elevated nutrients, lower tidal exposure times, less wind, and higher air temperatures. Low seagrass abundance coincided with the presence of greater winds and longer periods of exposure at low tides during the south-east trade wind season (Sager). No seasonal patterns were apparent when frequency of disturbance from high sedimentation and human impacts was high. Seagrass-Watch has been incorporated in to the Thursday Island High School's Marine Studies Unit ensuring continuity of monitoring. The students, teachers, and other interested individuals involved in Seagrass-Watch have mastered the necessary scientific procedures to monitor seagrass meadows, and developed skills in coordinating a monitoring program and skills in mentoring younger students. This has increased the participants' self-esteem and confidence, and given them an insight into how they may participate in the future management of their sea country.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:© Crown Copyright.
Keywords:Engagement; indigenous; monitoring; seagrass; Seagrass-Watch; Torres Strait.
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural education
Aquaculture and Fisheries > Fisheries > Seagrasses
Deposited On:02 Feb 2009 04:10
Last Modified:06 Sep 2010 06:48

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