Seagrass Monitoring

Seagrasses:  A window on marine ecosystem health

Seagrasses are submerged flowering plants found in shallow marine waters, such as bays and lagoons. They are a vital part of the ecosystem which protects and nourishes our coastline.  They provide food and shelter for many fish species, turtles, dugongs and smaller sea creatures such as worms, sea cucumbers, crabs, and filter feeders like anemones, as well as being a nursery ground for important fisheries species such as tiger prawns.

Ports North recognises the importance of seagrasses as a key marine habitat, and has been watching over them for more than 14 years.  Because seagrasses respond to changes in water quality they are also a great indicator of overall marine environment health.

Ports North supports an annual monitoring program conducted by James Cook University (JCU) in Cairns Harbour and Trinity Inlet, as well as at our other ports, such as Karumba, Mourilyan and Thursday Island.  By using helicopters and underwater cameras on boats, the seagrass meadows are mapped and assessed for any changes.

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