What is Seagrass-Watch?
Seagrass-Watch is a global scientific, non-destructive, seagrass assessment and monitoring program. Since it's genesis in 1998 in Australia, Seagrass-Watch has expanded internationally with participants in Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, Palau, Japan, China, Viet Nam, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, Eritrea, Kuwait, France, Spain, Comoros Islands, Maldives, Carribbean, United States of America and Singapore. Monitoring is now occurring at approximately 259 sites across 17 countries and an additional 9 countries participate but are currently at resource identification stage.
The Seagrass-Watch program started with initial funding to develop the program methodologies and structure provided by Coast & Clean Seas, Natural Heritage Trust & Coast Care. Seagrass-Watch is supported by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and by private donations.
Seagrass-Watch aims to raise awareness on the condition and trend of nearshore seagrass ecosystems and provide an early warning of major coastal environment changes. The Seagrass-Watch program has a simple philosophy of involving those who are concerned, and involves collaboration/partnerships between community, qualified scientists and the data users (environment management agencies).
People involved in the program develop a deep sense of custodianship and understanding of their local marine environments that reaches throughout the wider community. Coastal communities are concerned about the condition and loss of seagrasses in their regions and are keen to play a primary information-gathering role and work in partnership with government agencies.
Participants of Seagrass-Watch are from a wide variety of backgrounds who all share the common interest in marine conservation. Most participants are associated with universities & research institutions, government (local & state) or non-government organisations, established local community groups and schools.
The level of involvement depends on local resources, local coordination, local support, available capital, and scientific expertise. Seagrass-Watch also integrates with existing education, government, non-government and scientific programs to raise awareness and preserve these important marine ecosystems for the benefit of all. Participants collect quantitative data on seagrasses and their associated fauna by means of simple yet scientifically rigorous monitoring techniques.
The program has a strong scientific underpinning with an emphasis on consistent data collection, recording and reporting. Scientific, statistical, data management, data interpretation and logistic support underpins all monitoring efforts. Seagrass-Watch identifies areas important for seagrass species diversity and conservation and the information collected is used to assist the management of coastal environments and to prevent significant areas and species being lost.
Seagrass-Watch monitoring efforts are vital to assist with tracking global patterns in seagrass health, and assess the human impacts on seagrass meadows, which have the potential to destroy or degrade these coastal ecosystems and decrease their yield of natural resources. Responsive management based on adequate information will help to prevent any further significant areas and species being lost. To protect the valuable seagrass meadows along our coasts, everyone must work together.
THE GOALS OF THE PROGRAM ARE:
The Seagrass-Watch Team
The Seagrass-Watch team are a dedicated group of scientists, technicians and assistants. The team conducts monitoring, manage/validate/interpret data, provides feedback on the program's results and produces scientific documents/papers.
More information on the Team: Click Here