Seagrass meadows are highly valuable marine ecosystems that perform many important functional roles, from providing habitat for iconic species such as seahorses to capturing carbon. In Australia, the seagrass species Posidonia australis makes extensive underwater meadows all over southern Australia, from Wallis Lake in New South Wales to Shark Bay in Western Australia. Because seagrasses such as Posidonia australis are often distributed along highly urbanised coastlines, these ecosystems face threats from numerous human-made sources, including coastal development, pollution and damage from boat anchors and moorings.
Long-term declines of Posidonia australis from highly urbanised estuaries have resulted in six populations of the seagrass being listed as endangered by the Australian and NSW governments. Due to the species' extremely slow growth rate, natural recovery of damaged Posidonia australis meadows takes many decades. This has led to marine researchers focusing on developing and implementing active restoration methods to assist the recovery of Posidonia australis in NSW estuaries, such as the citizen science project Operation Posidonia. Understanding the factors influencing restoration success and recovery of ecosystem structure and functioning is critical for advancing the science of seagrass restoration in Australia.
Our lab is leading Posidonia australis restoration projects in Sydney and nearby locations. We have opportunities for students to investigate aspects of seagrass restoration science such as:
You’ll benefit through working with a supportive team of UNSW Biological, Earth and Environmental Science academics, industry scientists and PhD candidates. In addition to developing ecological research and analytical skills, you will have the opportunity to develop practical marine fieldwork and lab skills. You will be contributing to the field of seagrass restoration science and actively participating in the United Nations' Generation Restoration movement.
Supervisor(s): Prof Adriana Vergés, Erin McCosker (PhD candidate)