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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:

  • To educate the wider community on the importance of seagrass resources
  • To raise awareness of coastal management issues
  • To build the capacity of local stakeholders in the use of standardised scientific methodologies
  • To conduct long-term monitoring of seagrass & coastal habitat condition
  • To provide an early warning system of coastal environment changes for management
  • To support conservation measures which ensure the long-term resilience of seagrass ecosystems

 

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.


Seagrass-Watch HQ is the core of the program. The role of Seagrass-Watch HQ is to develop scientifically rigorous protocols/strategies for seagrass resource assessment, provide training, coordinate communities and scientists, facilitate the establishment of networks and to continue the development and expansion of the program. Seagrass-Watch HQ also ensures the QAQC protocols for the program are followed and that the program is producing data of high quality, ensuring time and resources are not wasted.

More information on the Team: Click Here

 

Trischelle Lowry (HBDSMP), Dr. Peter Stratford (CQU) and Rudi Yoshida(DPI&F) on site, Urangan
 
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Copyright © 2006-2015 Seagrass-Watch HQ. www.seagrasswatch.org. 228pp. Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the program's supporters.
 
Seagrass-Watch HQ
Address: Northern Fisheries Centre
PO Box 5396
Cairns Qld 4870
Phone: [07] 40 350 100
Email: hq@seagrasswatch.org