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Novel Oxygen Sensing Tools for Monitoring the Effects of Dredging on Australian Seagrass Communities

Funding: 2011: $70,000
2012: $120,000
2013: $95,000
2014: $45,000

Project Member(s): Ralph, P., Seymour, J., Kuhl, M.

Funding or Partner Organisation: Department of Employment Economic Development and Innovation
University of Copenhagen
Australian Research Council (ARC Linkage Projects)

Start year: 2011

Summary: Seagrasses sustain our coastal ecosystems but are threatened by dredging operations. Dredging reduces light and re-suspends sediment, which reduces oxygen, encourages sulphide toxicity and creates an imbalance of the root microbial consortia. Understanding the seagrass oxygen budget response to dredging is critical to preserve our existing seagrasses during dredging operations. An innovative study, using bio-optics and metagenomics, will be undertaken to determine seagrass responses to reduced oxygen and to characterise the microbial consortia that influence these processes. This research will deliver a new oxygen-sensor toolkit to arm seagrass managers with oxygen thresholds to mitigate the damage of a dredging plume.

Publications:

Trevathan-Tackett, SM, Seymour, JR, Nielsen, DA, Macreadie, PI, Jeffries, TC, Sanderman, J, Baldock, J, Howes, JM, Steven, ADL & Ralph, PJ 2017, 'Sediment anoxia limits microbial-driven seagrass carbon remineralization under warming conditions.', FEMS Microbiology Ecology, vol. 93, no. 6.
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Pernice, M, Sinutok, S, Sablok, G, Commault, A, Schliep, M, Macreadie, P, Rasheed, M & Ralph, P 2016, 'Molecular physiology reveals ammonium uptake and related gene expression in the seagrass Zostera muelleri', Marine Environmental Research.
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Brodersen, KE, Lichtenberg, M, Paz, LC & Kühl, M 2015, 'Epiphyte-cover on seagrass (Zostera marina L.) leaves impedes plant performance and radial O2 loss from the below-ground tissue', Frontiers in Marine Science, vol. 2, no. AUG.
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Keywords: seagrass dredging

FOR Codes: Plant Physiology, Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments, Microbial Ecology, Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity