Seagrass

Help us monitor this vital marine ecosystem

Seagrass is an important food source for many spectacular ocean creatures, such as dugongs and turtles as well as providing important habitat for countless marine animals, including commercially important fish and prawns. Seagrass also acts as an ecosystem engineer, altering the state of its location by balancing heavy-metals, pollutants and nutrients levels and stabilising sediment to prevent coastal erosion. Seagrass meadows are blue carbon ecosystems, they fight climate change by absorbing large amounts of Carbon dioxide from the air and storing it in their root systems.

We are alarmed at the rate of disappearance of seagrass globally and here on the Gold Coast. We have joined an international network of environmental warriors to monitor its growth and prevent its decline, and we need your help!

In this video, Lauren explains all about the Watergum Seagrass program

Our Seagrass surveys

What is Watergum Seagrass?

Watergum Seagrass is a long-term citizen science program, working closely with City of Gold Coast, experienced scientists and community members to collect valuable data and monitor seagrass condition. We follow globally standardised and scientifically approved monitoring procedures set out by Seagrass-Watch.

•      Conduct long-term monitoring of seagrass condition at representative sites within the gold coast

•      Educate the wider community on the importance of seagrass ecosystems

•      Raise awareness of coastal management issues

•      Provide information on the condition of seagrass to local government, facilitating catchment management

Why do we monitor seagrass?

Seagrass meadows are important food sources and nursery environments for many species including the endangered Loggerhead turtle, the vulnerable Dugong and a plethora of other marine creatures. Here on the Gold Coast, as with seagrass worldwide our seagrass meadows are struggling. Reasons include:

  • Poor water quality due to increased nutrients, sediment and pollutants have a major impact on seagrass condition and extent. This may also result in increased algae growth which smothers and shades seagrass. Lyngbya is a toxic blue-green algae that is dangerous to human health. Read Watergum’s lyngbya weed sheet here.
  • Boats jet-ski’s and other water vessels damage seagrass meadows; boat rudders slice through them, speeding vehicles stir up sand and silt and uproot seagrass and when boats run aground they can damage a whole section of the meadow.
  • Other threats to seagrass include coastal development, over fishing, and climate change (including natural disasters).

Volunteer for Watergum Seagrass!

We need hardy volunteers with a passion for marine citizen science and conservation who don’t mind getting wet and muddy! This is also a fantastic opportunity to meet like-minded people while learning some new skills!

Our seagrass surveys are a lot of fun and you will be contributing towards the collection of important scientific data. We encourage university students, outdoor enthusiasts, adventurous friends and families to come along and learn some new skills.

Children are welcome but please contact us first as not all sites are suitable for small people

If you would like to get involved, keep an eye on the events section of our website, on our facebook page, or email us at seagrass@watergum.com

Bring your enthusiasm, appropriate clothing and water shoes for the event and be prepared to have a lot of laughs and make new friends. We look forward to seeing you there! 

Watergum Seagrass online learning

Before you come to a segrass session, we ask that you first complete our online induction to make sure you are prepared and ready on the day!

If you can’t come to a seagrass survey but just want to learn more about seagrass, you are welcome to take our course anyway, just for fun!

Watergum Seagrass report card 2019/2020

Seagrass Survey Results

Click on the different layers on the left to see results for each survey round

Zoom in to each location to see the average seagrass cover.

Unfortunately we are not getting great density results here on the Gold Coast at the moment. That’s why it’s so important to keep monitoring seagrass and hopefully prevent any further decline.

This program is supported the City of Gold Coast & SeagrassWatch

Seagrass-Watch Gold Coast