Seagrass mapping synthesis – A resource for marine park and coastal management

Rob Coles 100dpi
Led by: Dr Rob Coles, JCU


Project Summary

Key to understanding the desired state of Queensland seagrasses is reliable data on seagrass distribution, abundance and species composition, and how this changes through time. Also valuable is the ability to reliably “drill” down from large-scale (World Heritage Area) to small-scale estuaries and meadows. TropWATER provides a composite map of seagrass for the GBRWHA available through E-Atlas, GBRMPA and Pangaea. However this layer has not been updated since 2010 and is missing changes from important areas and extensive new data, and provides no meadow-specific information. This project will recompile existing GIS layers, update with 2010-2015 data, and provide meadow-specific information.

Problem Statements


TropWATER’s seagrass maps are part of Queensland’s ecological “infrastructure”. They are used to model connectivity, assist with zoning and management, understand change, assess the impact of water quality and assess/predict vulnerability of turtle and dugong populations. However the seagrass GIS being used for research and management is out of date and incomplete. Prior to 2012 these data were updated by Queensland Government staff. This no longer occurs. Seagrass meadows can change and maps compiled 5-6 years ago may not be representative of current status. In addition the existing composite seagrass layer is of limited utility for assessing seagrass state as it is simply a boundary of anywhere seagrass has been recorded with no other specific seagrass information.

Project Keywords

Seagrass; Management; Map; Queensland; Zoning.

Project Funding

This project is jointly funded through JCU and the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Programme.

Project Publications
NESP TWQ Project 3.1 Final Report
Final Report