Assisting restoration of ecosystem engineers through seed-based and shoot- based programs in the Shark Bay WHS
This project is a partnership between scientists and the Shark Bay Malgana Indigenous community to jointly develop seeding and shoot planting methods to assist natural recovery of seagrasses in the Shark Bay World Heritage Site (WHS). The goal is to scale-up existing restoration research to assist recovery of the dominant seagrasses, Amphibolis antarctica and Posidonia australis following the 2011 marine heat wave. The Shark Bay WHS is unique globally for its natural values, including stromatolites, extensive seagrass meadow that have constructed sills and banks over 1,000s of years resulting in restricted exchange with the ocean, unique and abundant marine megafauna including 1/8th of the worlds population of dugongs, large populations of sharks and turtles, and one of the longest studied populations of dolphins in the world. The inshore waters of the WHS provide connectivity to the deeper waters of the adjacent Commonwealth Shark Bay Marine Park.
There are three parts to this research: (1) Collection of baseline population genomic diversity and connectivity estimates across the salinity gradient, (2) Assisting natural recovery of seagrass meadows through the collection of reproductive and vegetative propagules for on-ground restoration activities, and (3) Developing a restoration framework as a practical guide to decision making for appropriate restoration activities.
See what's happening at the inaugural
National Environmental Science Program (NESP) Marine Biodiversity Hub
Dr John Statton (restoration)
Dr Elizabeth Sinclair (population genomics)
Prof. Gary Kendrick
A collaboration through the Seagrass Restoration Network
and Australian Coastal Restoration Network
Edgeloe JM, Severn-Ellis AA, Bayer PE, Mehravi S, Breed MF, Krauss SL, Batley J, Kendrick GA, Sinclair EA (2022) Extensive polyploid clonality was a successful strategy for seagrass to expand into a newly submerged environment. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 289 (1976): 20220538
Sinclair EA Edgeloe JM Breed MF Kendrick GA (June 2022) Worlds largest clone shows how plants can track and adapt to changing environments. The Conversation
Download our Seagrass Factsheet here to learn
more about Shark Bay's seagrass meadows
and restoration activities in the Bay
Image: Seagrass restoration workshop: UWA researchers and Malgana Land and Sea Rangers filling biodegradable sand-filled hessian tubes (aka 'seagrass snaggers') with beach sand to assist in wire weed (A. antarctica) seedling recruitment.