Assisting restoration of ecosystem engineers through seed-based and shoot- based programs in the Shark Bay WHS
This project is a collaboration 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 provides connectivity to the deeper waters of the adjacent Commonwealth Shark Bay Marine Park.
There are two parts to this research – (1) Collection of baseline population genomic diversity and connectivity estimates across the salinity gradient, and (2) Assisting natural recovery of seagrass meadows through the collection of reproductive and vegetative propagules for on-ground restoration activities.
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National Environmental Science Program (NESP) Marine Biodiversity Hub