Seagrass (wirriya jalyanu): giving life to sea country of Shark Bay (Gathaagudu) - Fact sheet 2021

Seagrass (wirriya jalyanu): giving life to sea country of Shark Bay (Gathaagudu) - Fact sheet 2021

Researchers at The University of Western Australia (UWA) are working with the Malgana Aboriginal Corporation and rangers to assist the natural recovery of seagrasses affected by an extreme marine heatwave at Shark Bay. The widespread loss of seagrass resulting from the 2010/2011 marine heatwave caused declines in many species, including those of cultural significance. These include green sea turtles  (buyungurra), dugong (wuthuga), shags (wanamalu) and bottlenose dolphins (irrabuga). Malgana Rangers and scientists have participated in four training workshops to develop and trial simple, cost-effective methods to assist the recovery of seagrass. The methods use adult plants, seeds and seedlings, depending on the species. Measuring the success of a restoration project takes time. However, seaweeds and algae are starting to grow on seagrass transplants, tropical seagrasses are colonising the surrounding bare sand, and fish and invertebrates are starting to use the new habitat.


Workshopping seagrass (Wirriya Jalyanu) restoration in Shark Bay (Gathaagudu)

November 6, 2020

wire weed seagrass seedlings floating in teh water at Shark Bay
Wire weed (Amphibolis antarctica) seedlings spend several weeks to months floating with the currents and tides, before eventually sinking to the seafloor and catching hold of something to grow on. Image: Rachel Austin
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