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Dynamics of a deep-water seagrass population on the Great Barrier Reef: annual ccurrence and response to a major dredging program
York, P.H.; Carter, A.B.; Chartrand, K.; Sankey, T.; Wells, L.; Rasheed, M.A. (2015). Dynamics of a deep-water seagrass population on the Great Barrier Reef: annual ccurrence and response to a major dredging program. NPG Scientific Reports 5(13167): 9 pp. http://hdl.handle.net/10.1038/srep13167
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • York, P.H.
  • Carter, A.B.
  • Chartrand, K.
  • Sankey, T.
  • Wells, L.
  • Rasheed, M.A.

Abstract
    Global seagrass research efforts have focused on shallow coastal and estuarine seagrass populations where alarming declines have been recorded. Comparatively little is known about the dynamics of deep-water seagrasses despite evidence that they form extensive meadows in some parts of the world. Deep-water seagrasses are subject to similar anthropogenic threats as shallow meadows, particularly along the Great Barrier Reef lagoon where they occur close to major population centres. We examine the dynamics of a deep-water seagrass population in the GBR over an 8 year period during which time a major capital dredging project occurred. Seasonal and inter-annual changes in seagrasses were assessed as well as the impact of dredging. The seagrass population was found to occur annually, generally present between July and December each year. Extensive and persistent turbid plumes from a large dredging program over an 8 month period resulted in a failure of the seagrasses to establish in 2006, however recruitment occurred the following year and the regular annual cycle was re-established. Results show that despite considerable inter annual variability, deep-water seagrasses had a regular annual pattern of occurrence, low resistance to reduced water quality but a capacity for rapid recolonisation on the cessation of impacts.

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