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The Value of Seagrasses in the Restoration and Recovery of Oceans

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UWA Oceans Institute

IOMRC Auditorium (Ground Floor)

corner of Fairway and UWA Car Park Entrance No. 4.

Crawley, WA 6009

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THE VALUE OF SEAGRASSES IN THE RESTORATION AND RECOVERY OF OCEANS

A public lecture by Professor Gary Kendrick and Dr John Statton, UWA Oceans Institute.

Seagrass meadows are among the most highly valued ecosystems on earth, worth $34 000 ha-1 yr-1 as they protect our coastlines, clean our polluted waters, capture atmospheric carbon are habitat for fish and feed many coastal communities of the world. We are losing seagrass meadows at rates comparable to those for coral reefs globally. An estimated one quarter of the world’s seagrass meadows is already lost. How do we turn about this loss? The main tools of an applied scientist are removing the drivers of loss and to enhance recovery through rehabilitation and restoration.

At the UWA Oceans Institute, and in collaboration with industry partners, we are developing large scale restoration techniques that can be used to both restore seagrasses and to enhance existing seagrass meadows for sustainability. To achieve large-scale restoration of degraded seagrass meadows, we take a lessons learnt approach from terrestrial restoration practices and apply this within a marine setting. Our research focuses on four key areas: seed harvesting and seed sowing, seed dormancy and germination, seedling growth and survival, and genetics to assess adaptability to environmental change. In this lecture we will present our gardening secrets for growing seagrasses for restoration.

Professor Gary Kendrick is a research and teaching Professor at The Oceans Institute and the School of Plant Biology, UWA. His long-term research goal is to develop a predictive framework for understanding the spatial and temporal dynamics between marine species distributions, their biology and the physical environment. His work on marine landscape ecology and spatial ecology of seagrasses has identified appropriate descriptors of landscape/spatial structure, modelled species distributions, quantified extensive historical losses of seagrass habitat due to human impacts and modelled emergent landscape-scale phenomena related to the clonal growth of seagrasses at the shoot scale and the evolution of seagrass landscapes.

Dr John Statton’s research focuses on the restoration ecology of seagrasses and is currently working closely with terrestrial restoration ecologists to adapt restoration innovations to the marine environment. He takes a cross-disciplinary and multi-scaled approach to his research to develop a better understanding of how seagrasses interact with their environment. Dr Statton has also developed a large-scale ‘Seagrass Research Facility’ in the School of Plant Biology where he undertakes controlled environmental studies, successfully propagating and testing several seagrass species from temperate and tropical locations.

About this Series: All at Sea - Restoration and Recovery

Our oceans and coasts provide us with food, energy, livelihoods, cultural and recreational opportunities, yet they are coming under increasing pressure. This UWA Institute of Advanced Studies – Oceans Institute Lecture Series explores the wonders of our seas, the challenges they face and how research at UWA - in a diverse range of fields including marine science, ocean engineering, health, humanities and social sciences – are contributing to ensure sustainability.

Other lectures in this series:

Oceans Past and Future: what role can history play in restorationand recovery of marine environments.

A public lecture by Dr Andrea Gaynor, Director, Centre for Western Australian History, School of Humanities, Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Education.

Thursday 9 November, 6pm-7pm | Oceans Institute Auditorium

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UWA Oceans Institute

IOMRC Auditorium (Ground Floor)

corner of Fairway and UWA Car Park Entrance No. 4.

Crawley, WA 6009

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