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Seagrass population dynamics and water quality in the Great Barrier Reef region: A review and future research directions

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Waycott, M., Longstaff, B. J. and Mellors, J. (2005) Seagrass population dynamics and water quality in the Great Barrier Reef region: A review and future research directions. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 51 (1-4). pp. 343-350. ISSN 0025-326X

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Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2005.01.017


Seagrasses in the Great Barrier Reef region, particularly in coastal habitats, act as a buffer between catchment inputs and reef communities and are important habitat for fisheries and a food source for dugong and green turtle. Within the Great Barrier Reef region there are four different seagrass habitat types now recognised. The spatial and temporal dynamics of the different types of seagrass habitat is poorly understood. In general seagrass growth is limited by light, disturbance and nutrient supply, and changes to any or all of these limiting factors may cause seagrass decline. The capacity of seagrasses to recover requires either recruitment via seeds or through vegetative growth. The ability of seagrass meadows to recover from large scale loss of seagrass cover observed during major events such as cyclones or due to anthropogenic disturbances such as dredging will usually require regeneration from seed bank. Limited research into the role of pollutants on seagrass survival suggests there may be ongoing impacts due to herbicides, pesticides and other chemical contaminants. Further research and monitoring of seagrass meadow dynamics and the influence of changing water quality on these is needed to enhance our ability to manage seagrasses on the Great Barrier Reef.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Seagrass, Disturbance, Recruitment, Nutrients, Light limitation, Pollutant
Subjects:Aquaculture and Fisheries > Fisheries > By region or country > Australia > Great Barrier Reef
Aquaculture and Fisheries > Fisheries > Seagrasses
Live Archive:06 Feb 2024 23:19
Last Modified:06 Feb 2024 23:19

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