The lead article of this issue features the important role of seagrasses in giving early warning of dangers to the shores. "Like the canaries that were used to detect deadly gases in the coal mines, seagrasses are our 'coastal canaries' detecting environmental degradation in coastal and reef ecosystems." The articles shares how intertidal seagrasses in the Great Barrier Reefs are monitored by Seagrass-Watch as part of the Reef Rescue Marine Monitoring Program to track trends in sediments, nutrients and other pollutants in the waters there.
An exciting new monitoring Mangrove Watch programme is also featured!
The pilot programme is testing methods and strategies over the next 12 months in Queensland. It involves community volunteers and scientists. Hopefully, we can do something similar for our mangroves in Singapore!
'Seaweed farms and seagrass: can they coexist?' looks at the situation in islands east of Bali, Indonesia. Many of the seaweed farms are placed directly above seagrass and this can lead to seagrass dieoff. Surprisingly, during a preliminary investigation, the intertidal seagrass was surviving below the seaweed cultured on ropes despite the obvious shading. Seagrass Watch hopes to establish a monitoring programme involving local schools and NGOs to help raise awareness about the importance of seagrasses.
'Dugong with Borders' is a programme by Community Centred Conservation (C3) in Madagascar that aims to build national and regional capacity in the Comoros and Madagascar on dugongs. One component is the collation of seagrass information using Seagrass-Watch protocols.
'Seagrass under threat' examines the heart-breaking seagrass situation in India. Seine net operations can remove 30-40kgs of seagrass per day, while harvesting of shells of the ornamental trade degrades and destroyed hectares of seagrasses.
The back cover features the enigmatic Giant clams! According to the article, "The most commonly encountered giant clam in seagrass meadows of the tropical Indo-Pacific is the Horse's Hoof or Bear Paw clam (Hippopus hippopus)".
Our very own team member, Neo Mei Lin, is doing a survey of the Giant clams in Singapore so some of us who have been helping her have indeed been seeing many of these marvellous creatures. See her Psychedelic Nature blog for some information on the giant clams, as well as wild facts on wildsingapore. Alas, we have not seen a living H. hippopus on our meadows ... yet!
There's also an article about the Samoan Tsunami and its impacts to seagrasses and corals, a heartwarming story about how the role of seagrasses inspired participation to an Australian community and lots more!
Download the issue from the Seagrass-Watch website!