May 25, 2016

Thursday 26 May 2016

Australia once had extensive shellfish reefs across its coastlines, but they are now largely destroyed and NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub researchers from James Cook University (JCU) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) have identified what needs to be done to repair and conserve them.

Their report released today - "Shellfish reef habitats: a synopsis to underpin the repair and conservation of Australia’s environmentally, socially and economically important bays and estuaries" - describes eight shellfish reef habitats formed by oysters, mussels and pearl oysters in Australia. Only two of the eight have been researched in any detail.

Principal Investigator Dr Ian McLeod, from JCU’s TropWATER said research will now focus on measuring the potential benefits of shellfish reef restoration and describing where remnant shellfish reefs survive to help identify where restoration may still be possible.

The study is part of the National Environmental Science Programme (NESP) Marine Biodiversity Hub, an Australian Government initiative that aims to improve the knowledge of key marine species and ecosystems to underpin their management and protection.