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!
The shelf life of pyrite
14.10.2019 | MARUM - Zentrum für Marine Umweltwissenschaften an der Universität Bremen
Laser precision: NASA flights, satellite align over sea ice
04.10.2019 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
A new research project at the TH Mittelhessen focusses on the development of a novel light weight design concept for leisure boats and yachts. Professor Stephan Marzi from the THM Institute of Mechanics and Materials collaborates with Krake Catamarane, which is a shipyard located in Apolda, Thuringia.
The project is set up in an international cooperation with Professor Anders Biel from Karlstad University in Sweden and the Swedish company Lamera from...
Superconductivity has fascinated scientists for many years since it offers the potential to revolutionize current technologies. Materials only become superconductors - meaning that electrons can travel in them with no resistance - at very low temperatures. These days, this unique zero resistance superconductivity is commonly found in a number of technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Future technologies, however, will harness the total synchrony of electronic behavior in superconductors - a property called the phase. There is currently a...
How do some neutron stars become the strongest magnets in the Universe? A German-British team of astrophysicists has found a possible answer to the question of how these so-called magnetars form. Researchers from Heidelberg, Garching, and Oxford used large computer simulations to demonstrate how the merger of two stars creates strong magnetic fields. If such stars explode in supernovae, magnetars could result.
How Do the Strongest Magnets in the Universe Form?
A hot, molten Earth would be around 5% larger than its solid counterpart. This is the result of a study led by researchers at the University of Bern. The difference between molten and solid rocky planets is important for the search of Earth-like worlds beyond our Solar System and the understanding of Earth itself.
Rocky exoplanets that are around Earth-size are comparatively small, which makes them incredibly difficult to detect and characterise using telescopes. What...
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids in Dresden, Princeton University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have spotted a famously elusive particle: The axion – first predicted 42 years ago as an elementary particle in extensions of the standard model of particle physics.
The team found signatures of axion particles composed of Weyl-type electrons (Weyl fermions) in the correlated Weyl semimetal (TaSe₄)₂I. At room temperature,...
02.10.2019 | Event News
02.10.2019 | Event News
19.09.2019 | Event News
14.10.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
14.10.2019 | Earth Sciences
14.10.2019 | Health and Medicine