Blog2: Seagrass Mapping

Today I was on a boat named Pelagia, it’s a hard bottomed inflatable. We worked with James Udy, the head scientist mapping seagrass. At each location we would get the GPS coordinates, one person would get into the water and take a sample of the seagrass to determine the type, the coverage and the amount of algae.

This information was given to the scribe on board. We also took a photo at each location to correctly record the type of seagrass. When you were the person in the water it was common to call out something like “CS (Comodocea Serrulata) 80% coverage, 10% algae.” During the afternoon we got much faster and surveyed about 40 sites. We were in water of depths of 3.5m- 40cm.

The plan is to survey places with good quality water and compare them to more polluted areas. So far the scientists have found that the grasses in good quality water don’t grow long or wide “leaves” and can put more energy into their rhizomes (roots) but the grasses in more turbid water have to put more energy into growing long thick “leaves/stems” so they can get more chlorfi but can then spend less energy developing their rhizomes.

Whilst surveying we saw a large number of sea cucumbers, razor clams, sea stars, rays and the highlight was seeing a dugong in the bay when we were returning to shore.

Click on this link to view some of the locations, photos and most information.

We worked near The Velalla (The Mothership) a 12 meter catamaran and returned when we needed more supplies. In the evening we listed to a presentation from Nicola Udy about Marine Park management and current issues.

Sea StarSea Slug