Wednesday: Mapping Seagrass

Today I was on the smallest boat of all three research vessels known as the Tender.  I am sure that most people would have a blast on this boat!

Wednesday Tender

It doesn’t carry more than four people at a time, but is heaps of fun to be in, particularly when there are waves and you’re getting quite wet!  We were mapping seagrass without using a camera off the back of a boat like we did in the larger boat “Velella”.  We would start in a shallow sandy part close to shore and then make our way out deeper looking at the types and distribution of seagrass along the way.  Here is a picture of some of the seagrass that we found growing:

Wednesday Seagrass2

Basically, a sample of the seagrass was collected by hand from the sand (or mud), classified into whether it was the ‘primary’ or ‘secondary’ species and an estimate was made on how much each of the species we found covered the seabed.  We also had to note down whether the seagrass was growing in sand, mud, sandy mud or muddy sand.  I was able to do most of the collecting in the more shallow water, and the other more advanced divers retrieved the samples from the deeper water.  It was really interesting to see the change in the type of seagrass as we moved from location to location.  Can you think of any reasons why the type/ colour or condition of seagrass might change?  I actually tried eating a bit of seagrass today however I don’t really recommend it.  I know the dugongs like it but to me it just tasted like crunchy grassy bean shoots and definately not something we should attempt to cook during our SAKG cooking sessions!

Before lunch, we were lucky enough to do a little bit of snorkeling through a coral reef.  The corals we saw were very pretty, and I took lots of pictures with the gopro:

Wednesday coral

After more sampling from Tender in the afternoon, we headed back to shore on Velella.  We were all pretty tired after the day of research.  Here is Velella welcoming us back:

Wednesday Velella

The only wildlife I was able to see today was turtles.  A couple put their heads up a little distance away from the boat, and we also saw one swimming underwater past the boat really quickly.  Turtles certainly can move quicker in the water than they do on land.  Tomorrow I am heading out on Glaucus again to do some more camera set ups and seagrass sampling.  Remember, Glaucus is the boat that we saw all the dugongs from so fingers crossed we might see some more tomorrow!  Here is a picture of Glaucus:

Wednesday Glaucus

I'll let you know tomorrow night if we see any dugongs so make sure you read tomorrow.