Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Boat mooring chains scour Rottnest (Australia) seagrass releasing CO2

16.03.2016

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.


This photography shows the loss of seagrass in bays around Rottnest Island off the coast of Perth.

Credit: ECU

"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:

  • Seagrass meadows cover about 90,000 sqkm of seabed off Australia's coast - that's about the same size as Tasmania.

     

  • Seagrass absorbs CO2 about 40 times faster than rainforests and could be a valuable way to offset carbon emissions.

     

  • But as seagrass meadows die off due to climate change and the effects of human development, that CO2 will be released.

     

  • It is notoriously hard to propagate seagrasses and replace meadows lost due to human influences.

Media Contact

Pere Masqué
Pere.masque@uab.cat
61-047-523-8922

 @UAB_info

http://www.uab.es 

Pere Masqué | EurekAlert!

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Upwards with the “bubble shuttle”: How sea floor microbes get involved with methane reduction in the water column
27.05.2020 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

nachricht An international team including scientists from MARUM discovered ongoing and future tropical diversity decline
26.05.2020 | MARUM - Zentrum für Marine Umweltwissenschaften an der Universität Bremen

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: K-State study reveals asymmetry in spin directions of galaxies

Research also suggests the early universe could have been spinning

An analysis of more than 200,000 spiral galaxies has revealed unexpected links between spin directions of galaxies, and the structure formed by these links...

Im Focus: New measurement exacerbates old problem

Two prominent X-ray emission lines of highly charged iron have puzzled astrophysicists for decades: their measured and calculated brightness ratios always disagree. This hinders good determinations of plasma temperatures and densities. New, careful high-precision measurements, together with top-level calculations now exclude all hitherto proposed explanations for this discrepancy, and thus deepen the problem.

Hot astrophysical plasmas fill the intergalactic space, and brightly shine in stellar coronae, active galactic nuclei, and supernova remnants. They contain...

Im Focus: Biotechnology: Triggered by light, a novel way to switch on an enzyme

In living cells, enzymes drive biochemical metabolic processes enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very ability which allows them to be used as catalysts in biotechnology, for example to create chemical products such as pharmaceutics. Researchers now identified an enzyme that, when illuminated with blue light, becomes catalytically active and initiates a reaction that was previously unknown in enzymatics. The study was published in "Nature Communications".

Enzymes: they are the central drivers for biochemical metabolic processes in every living cell, enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very...

Im Focus: New double-contrast technique picks up small tumors on MRI

Early detection of tumors is extremely important in treating cancer. A new technique developed by researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from normal tissue. The work is published May 25 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from...

Im Focus: I-call - When microimplants communicate with each other / Innovation driver digitization - "Smart Health“

Microelectronics as a key technology enables numerous innovations in the field of intelligent medical technology. The Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT coordinates the BMBF cooperative project "I-call" realizing the first electronic system for ultrasound-based, safe and interference-resistant data transmission between implants in the human body.

When microelectronic systems are used for medical applications, they have to meet high requirements in terms of biocompatibility, reliability, energy...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium AWK'21 will take place on June 10 and 11, 2021

07.04.2020 | Event News

International Coral Reef Symposium in Bremen Postponed by a Year

06.04.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

An MRI technique has been developed to improve the detection of tumors

03.06.2020 | Medical Engineering

K-State study reveals asymmetry in spin directions of galaxies

03.06.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

The cascade to criticality

03.06.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>