South Australia's coastal and marine waters are some of the most biodiverse in the world. They are being examined and mapped at a regional scale to help prioritise conservation efforts.
In our global biodiversity hotspot for marine algae and seagrasses, the departmet, in partnerships with universities and other government agencies, are working to understand the species we have, their ecology and reproductive biology, as well as develop rapid processes for assessing community diversity and health.
Seagrass management program
A study in Spencer Gulf estimated that seagrass beds, through their ability to trap sediment and create sediment through biogenesis, grow vertically at the rate of 1 cm every 100 years. Seagrass communities not only grow slowly but damage is very hard to repair. Further research on seagrasses has revealed that the loss of seagrass beds can irreversibly alter the nature of these marine environments.
Inherent challenges are not deterring the department in its ambitious adaptive management program to restore the approximately 6,000 hectares of seagrass communities lost from Adelaide's coastline.