The research published in the journal Nature: Scientific Reports surveyed the 'scars' created by mooring chains in the bays around one of Western Australia's iconic tourist destinations.
Dr Oscar Serrano led the research with Professor Paul Lavery and Professor Pere Masque from the Edith Cowan University (ECU) and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB and Department of Physics UAB), and said the movement of the chains scraped seagrass off the seafloor.
"As moored boats drift with the currents, wind and waves they drag a heavy chain across the seafloor and that chain acts just like a razor across the skin removing the seagrass," said Oscar Serrano.
"But unlike a 5 o clock shadow -- in this case the seagrass doesn't grow back.
"Unfortunately these protected, calm bays favoured for boat moorings are also prime habitats for seagrass."
Efforts to preserve seagrass meadows by using seagrass friendly mooring lines in some areas is resulting in the recovery of seagrass in some areas of the Island however overall seagrass covers is decreasing.
That's because the size of mooring scars in Stark Bay on the Island's north coast has increased about 500 per cent from 2,000sqm in 1980to 9,000 sqm today due to erosion of the already scarred areas by wave action.
"Once the mooring chains have started the process of scouring, waves will likely continue spreading those scoured areas.
"In Stark Bay, we've seen the scarred areas join up to become large areas devoid of any seagrass."
The destruction of the seagrass meadows has important implications for the ecosystems of Perth's favourite marine playground.
"Seagrass is an important habitat for many species of fish as well as a food source for dugong and turtles," he said.
"More importantly in a global sense, seagrass absorbs carbon dioxide at more than 40 times faster than tropical rainforests.
"What that also means is that when the seagrass meadows are wiped out the carbon dioxide which has been absorbed over hundreds of years, is released back into the atmosphere."
As part of this project, core samples were taken in the scarred areas and where seagrass still existed.
Those sample showed on average more than 75 per cent of carbon absorbed in those seagrass meadows was lost increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Dr Serrano said it is important steps are taken to protect the seagrass meadows around Rottnest Island and the rest of Australia.
"These older style moorings have started to be replaced on Rottnest Island, but that needs to continue here and in other popular mooring sites," he said.
Fast facts on seagrass:
Pere Masqué | EurekAlert!
GPM sees deadly tornadic storms moving through US Southeast
01.12.2016 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Cyclic change within magma reservoirs significantly affects the explosivity of volcanic eruptions
30.11.2016 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy