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In The News

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UWA and Traditional Owners secure $650k for marine park health

In a significant boost to marine conservation efforts, The University of Western Australia and First Nations partners have been awarded more than $650,000 for two projects that will help Traditional Owner groups better monitor and manage the health of Australian marine parks.

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Western Australia's Shark Bay seabeds are a ticking carbon time bomb, says scientist

Australia's zero greenhouse gas ambitions could be set back if a vast reserve of carbon stored in a seabed off Western Australia is released into the atmosphere, according to a leading marine ecologist, Professor Gary Kendrick.

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Volunteers spring into action to help seagrass recovery in Cockburn Sound

A seagrass restoration program, that is helping to regenerate Cockburn Sound’s underwater meadows, has had a record number of volunteers helping to spread hundreds of thousands of seeds from the plants.

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Cockburn Sound seagrass growth success overshadowed by Westport dredging prospect

Seeds for Snapper volunteers are successfully seeding critical seagrass meadows in Cockburn Sound having dispersed seeds across the equivalent area of 12 Optus footy fields since it was launched five years ago. A hot November saw seagrass pods ripen earlier, this year and with the support of 600 registered volunteers 670,000 seeds were collected and will result in another three hectares of seabed being seeded.

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Underwater garden beds provide hope for seagrass restoration

Researchers and commercial divers have created underwater garden beds in Cockburn Sound, using dredged sediment from a nearby area, as part of a project aimed at improving the survival rates of transplanted seagrass. 'We want to see whether sediment manipulation and addition is going to help the seagrass grow and whether there are better ways to develop new underwater meadows', says Dr Giulia Ferretto

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Power In Numbers: The trials and tribulations of community-driven seagrass restoration in Australia

Professor Kendrick unveils the crucial role that seagrass plays in marine and terrestrial ecosystems, shedding light on its remarkable ability to support marine life and store blue carbon, even more effectively than tropical rainforests in a two part episode of OzCast.

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"In fondo al mare" per restaurarne i fondali, la missione di Giulia Ferretto

Listen to Dr Giulia Ferretto's podcast about restoring seagrass, in Italian.

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Study examines 30 years of seagrass restoration

A major review of seagrass programs in Cockburn Sound has helped identify the best methods for restoring large scale seabed meadows and found community involvement was a key to success.

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Seagrass is probably the most neglected offshore ecosystem and its importance is far underestimated

Thanks to Albert Yuan, science reporter for San Lian Lifeweek (www.lifeweek.com.cn) for sharing information about our seagrass genetics and restoration work in Shark Bay, Western Australia.

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A powerful climate solution just below the ocean's surface

Restoring seagrass meadows is one tool that coastal communities can use to address climate change, both by capturing emissions and mitigating their effects. 

An article by Tatiana Schlossberg, reporter covering climate change and the environment for the Science section of the New York Times.

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Seagrass (wirriya jalyanu) restoration team completes a 1 Ha restoration site at Useless Loop

University of Western Australia researchers in collaboration with Shark Bay Rsources  have completed a 1 ha seagrass restoration site at Useless Loop this February.


Inscription Post, p16-17, April 2023

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Climate change studies, more funding named key priorities in research plan for WA's Shark Bay

The Western Australian Marine Science Institution has released a detailed to focus research efforts on the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Shark Bay (Gathaagudu). The Shark Bay Science Plan  has been developed from a comprehensive review of stakeholder views, literature and data that identified marine science priorities for the Bay. After consultation with community members and Malgana people, it became clear to researchers that climate change was a top priority for further study. 

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Local artists take inspiration from marine scientists for MIX Artists latest exhibition Immerse

A group of Albany artists have submerged themselves in the world of marine science for their latest exhibition, which takes inspiration from local researchers. One of the artworks in particular was inspired by the seagrass restoration efforts by Albany's Citizen of the Year for 2023, Geoff Bastyan.

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More than $1 million for new environmental solutions

Environmental projects that will help protect threatened species and address the impacts of climate change are receiving more than $1 million in grants from the NSW Government, including Posidonia australis seagrass meadows.

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Scientists are asking school children to help track marine life fleeing from warming oceans

Our changing climate is driving species to permanently move in search of cooler habitats in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Marine sanctuaries are supposed to protect ocean life - but what can they do when this life moves away? Dr Elizabeth Sinclair partnered with UNESCO to deliver the eDNA-expeditions to assess marine biodiversity in Western Australia’s Shark Bay. 

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'Seeds For Snapper' hits the million milestone in Western Australia

We did it – one million seagrass seeds deployed in Cockburn Sound this seagrass season! Thank you to all of the recreational fishers, volunteer divers and boaters, school students, and local businesses who came together to make this year our biggest Seeds for Snapper yet.

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Seagrass restoration project spans two oceans

James Cook University scientists will lead seagrass restoration research spanning tropical Australia’s two oceans. Researchers from JCU’s Centre for Tropical Water and Aquatic Ecosystem Research (TropWATER) and UWA will investigate restoration techniques for key tropical seagrass species, from Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef across to the north of Western Australia. Their aim is to develop a blueprint for coastal managers to rapidly restore seagrass meadows in high-priority regions.

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Artist's sculptures inspired by wondrous (Posidonia) world

Sculptural works inspired by the magical world of plant and animal cellular structures, as seen down the lens of a microscope, have been unveiled on the UWA campus, nestled among trees in Prescott Court.

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WA's crayfish, dhufish rely on volunteers to drive Australia's largest seagrass restoration project

Among all the natural beauty teeming in the ocean, Professor Gary Kendrick gets most excited about the parts of the sea people usually ignore. "If you look at a stage, you see the actors, and everybody focuses in on the actors," he said. But Professor Kendrick likes to focus on the background.

"That stage in the background is what the seagrasses and the seaweeds are."

Key points:

  • Seagrass meadows act as nurseries for iconic WA species

  • Volunteers are replanting seeds in Cockburn Sound

  • The restoration program is the largest of its kind in Australia

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Seeds for Snapper - community spearhead citizen science

The largest seagrass restoration project in the country, 'Seeds for Snapper ' led by researchers from UWA Oceans Institute and Oz Fish Unlimited are calling on Western Australians to help restore Cockburn Sound’s seagrass meadows.

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UWA marine expertise to help assess environmental impacts of new Kwinana Port

Six leading marine researchers from The University of Western Australia including Gary Kendrick and Matt Fraser, will contribute their expertise to a major collaborative science program being undertaken by the Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI) as part of planning for a new container port in Kwinana.

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Restoring seagrass in Shark Bay

Off the coast of Australia’s north-west lies one of the largest known plants on earth – seagrass.

But the rich seagrass meadows of the World Heritage Listed site of Shark Bay are under threat, still reeling from a severe heat wave that hit the WA coastline in 2010–11, as well as the constantly changing climate. Fiona Bartholomaeus chats On The Record  to Dr John Statton about the important research and restoration work being done.

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Shark Bay World Heritage Area benefits from seagrass snaggers debut to rejuvenate habitat

Young Harrison Macdonald smiles with delight as he helps his family carry elongated hessian sacks onto a boat in Shark Bay, Western Australia. "I've got big muscles," he remarks. He is among Shark Bay community members working with Indigenous rangers in a pioneering trial to deploy 250 so-called seagrass snaggers along the ocean floor.

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Community rallies to restore damaged Shark Bay seagrass beds

Indigenous rangers, community volunteers and scientists have joined forces to restore climate change damaged seagrass beds in a World Heritage Area off the West Australian coast. Kate Ferguson reports.

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Scientists discover ‘biggest plant on Earth’ off Western Australian coast

About 4,500 years ago, a single seed – spawned from two different seagrass species – found itself nestled in a favourable spot somewhere in what is now known as Shark Bay, just off Australia’s west coast.

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Knowing Nullaki Festival celebrating the Wilson Inlet

Nullaki is the local Noongar name of the seagrass Ruppia megacarpa. It is also their word for Wilson Inlet and surrounding areas. The Noongar peoples, who are so connected to land over thousands of years, understood the fundamental importance of the slender seagrass that grows in abundance. A stunning biodiversity painting showing Ruppia in flower was created with Golden Hills Steiner School students and Angela Rossen, Artist and biodiversity educator, is on show at the Knowing Nullaki Festival.

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Vale Anne Brearley 1949-2022

Dr Anne Brearley passed away with her family beside her on Saturday 12th February after a long fight with illness. Anne was a long time student, research fellow and associate of the Schools of Plant Biology and Biological Sciences, as well as a founding member of the UWA Oceans Institute.


Anne was an expert in molluscs and other invertebrates and did her undergraduate and her PhD in the Department of Botany at UWA in the early 1990s under the supervision of Professor Diana Walker. Her work on seagrass leaf grazing was breakthrough research in our understanding of limnoriid and lynseiid crustaceans grazing on seagrass meristems in southern Australia. Her first postdoctoral appointment was with a program studying the ecological significance of seagrasses and their associated invertebrate communities in Cockburn Sound and Owen Anchorage (1997-1999). She then authored a major book that celebrated the life of Ernest Hodgin titled Swanland: Estuaries and Coastal Lagoons of South-western Australia in 2005. The book is the most complete collection of historical and contemporary understanding of the estuaries we live and enjoy in the Southwest.


Anne’s eye for detail, research integrity and her love for the invertebrates was shared with so many of us. She has been an important friend and collaborator to Gary Kendrick, Di Walker, and Marion Cambridge and her legacy will continue through her graduated students and her writings. Anne will be missed for the sharing and the mentoring she has provided and her willingness to venture underwater to enjoy the wonder and diversity of the waters of the southwestern Australia.

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Art, science and culture connect in seagrass-inspired exhibit

Art, science and culture are all coming together in a beautiful series of seagrass-inspired artworks, on display at Aspects Gallery Shop in Kings Park. The artworks by Tiahna Oxenham, Sabrina Dowling Giudici, Nadja Roelofs, and Kelly Osborne are all inspired by marine environments, featuring seagrasses.

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‘Black water’: The three Australian sites that are ground zero for climate change

In the summer of 2011, as flooding across Victoria and Queensland killed 35 people and left a $14 billion damage bill, something very different was happening on the other side of the country. Record summer ocean temperatures up to 5C above average represented the worst marine heatwave Western Australia had ever seen.

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Funding boost for young marine researchers

Congratulations Maria Jung - one of eight young researchers to receive a major boost to support for doctorate research in marine science. Working across a diverse range of innovative projects in ocean science, the eight PhD students were awarded a total of $92,000 through the 2020 Robson and Robertson Awards Scheme.

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A Snapshot of 70 Years of Marine Research in Shark Bay: Ecological, Social and Economic

A new report launched this week by the Western Australian Marine Science Institution brings together the last seven decades of marine research on Gathaagudu, Shark Bay. Gary Kendrick hands the Report over to Malgana Traditional Owners.

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Blue carbon, conservation economies & the great seagrass restoration

Gary Kendrick’s great love is the WA coastline and its seagrasses. Gary and colleagues have been at the forefront of seagrass restoration and the blue carbon movement more broadly. And with such a massive extent of coastline featuring globally significant carbon stores, World Heritage Sites, and deep community and cultural knowledge, the potential for WA is enormous. 

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Steady strides to conserve waterways

With the future of fishing in Australia directly related to the quality of our waterways, one national not-for-profit has put the call out for recreational fishers to help conserve their beloved streams, lakes and estuaries.

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Project aims to restore seagrass habitat

A GROUNDBREAKING seagrass restoration project being led by Yarram Yarram Landcare has the much wider environmental benefit of helping to reduce the region's carbon footprint.

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Restoring seagrass for snapper

An experiment to restore seagrass in order to attract pink snapper close to shore is proving to be a success. John Statton discusses restoring seagrass in Cockburn Sound with GWN7.

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Snapper habitat gets second dose of seagrass seeds

West Australian recreational fishers and divers have worked to restore the lost seagrass meadows of Cockburn Sound for the second consecutive year by collecting and spreading seeds to speed the plant’s restoration and improve the habitat for Pink Snapper.

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Malgana people add their voice to science priorities for Shark Bay

Generations of Malgana people from Gatharragudu (Shark Bay) came together to start the process of understanding the decades of research that has been carried out in the World Heritage Site and to develop priorities for the future. Matt Fraser got the opportunity to share seagrass research firsthand.

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Australia's Great Southern Reef newest 'Hope Spot'

Mission Blue founder Sylvia Earle announces their latest Hope Spot: Australia's Great Southern Reef.

PhD researcher Sahira Bell explains that despite 70% of Australians living within 50km of the GSR, public knowledge of the Reef is scant. 


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Premier’s Science Awards 2019

Congratulations to Belinda Martin - selected as a finalist in the Exxon Mobil Student Scientist of the Year for her innovative research into seagrass microbes. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on 13 August 2019.

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What lies beneath

John Statton and  Murdoch University's Jennifer Verduin meet Gardening Australia's Josh Byrne to talk seagrass restoration in Cockburn Sound. 

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Shark Bay: A World Heritage Site at catastrophic risk

The devastating bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef in 2016 and 2017 rightly captured the world’s attention. But what’s less widely known is that another World Heritage-listed marine ecosystem was also devastated by an extreme marine heatwave in Western Australia in 2011. Safeguarding Shark Bay from climate change will require a coordinated research and management effort from government, local industry, academic institutions and local Indigenous groups.


Listen to Matt's interview with The Wire

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Environmentalists, oil firms set to go to war over Great Southern Reef

There's a battle brewing in WA’s Southern Ocean, and it’s between environmentalists and the petroleum industry. Sahira Bell spoke with the Sunday Times about the Great Southern Reef...

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2018 Biology as Art Exhibition and Awards

A prayer, a bowerbird and seagrass, benthos and plankton. Congratulations Angela Rossen on winning the Wayne Davies Prize.

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Momentum builds to save seagrass as it disappears at a fast rate

Operation Posidonia’ launched in Port Stephens today. A team led by UNSW and the Sydney Institute of Marine Science is asking local communities to help restore endangered Posidonia seagrass meadows by collecting shoots that naturally become detached after large storms. Listen to the radio interview.

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'Seeds for Snapper' restoring the seagrass meadows of Cockburn Sound

In an Australian first, hundreds of West Australian recreational fishers will be asked to take part in a trial to restore the lost seagrass meadows of Cockburn Sound. Cockburn Sound has lost some 80% of its seagrass habitat since the 1960’s, down from 4000ha originally, to 900ha today. OzFish Unlimited is leading this trial, with support from Recfishwest and researchers from the University of Western Australia, along with BCF.

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Climate Issue: Losing Earth

The New York Times Magazine dedicated this issue to a single long story, 'Losing Earth: The decade we almost stopped climate change', by writer-at-large Nathaniel Rich with amazing photographs and videos by George Steinmetz, about the ten-year period from 1979 to 1989, the decisive decade when humanity settled the science of climate change and came surprisingly close to finding a solution. The world was ready to act. But we failed to do what was necessary to avoid a catastrophe. Rich's story is a gripping narrative that reads like a historical whodunit.

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Adapting to ecosystem change in the Shark Bay World Heritage site

Five years after the release of a report into the Shark Bay World Heritage site recommended a coordinated collaborative approach was vital to understand changes in the ecosystem, more than 70 science and industry experts have joined forces to examine the threats and prioritise the research needed to save its status.

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Climate change threatens world's biggest seagrass carbon stores

A new study published today in Nature Climate Change by an international team of researchers highlights the devastating effects of a marine heatwave in one of the world’s largest remaining seagrass ecosystems. This collaborative study found the death of seagrasses in the Shark Bay World Heritage Site from a 2010/11 marine heat wave released up to nine million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere over the following three years.

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Study finds ways to avoid hidden dangers of accumulated stresses on seagrass

Hundreds of millions of cubic meters of vital seagrass meadows worldwide can potentially be at risk of collapse from accumulated effects of repeated dredging and natural stress - a QUT-led research project examines just what the main risks are in a newly published article in the Journal of Applied Ecology.

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Seagrass research included in $14.75 million of Federal funding

Researchers at The University of Western Australia have received $14.75 million in funding for 26 projects through the Federal Government’s Australian Research Council. UWA received $9.6 million for 25 Discovery Projects including:


Seagrass adaptation and acclimation responses to extreme climatic events, $525,413.00
Prof Gary Kendrick; Dr Martin Breed; Prof Siegfried Krauss; Dr John Stephen

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