Seagrass restoration in Shark Bay

A vital part of the marine ecosystem, seagrasses, provide food, habitat, and nursery areas for numerous vertebrate and invertebrate species.

Seagrass at Shark Bay. Photo credit: The University of Western Australia

Researchers from The University of Western Australia in collaboration with Shark Bay Resources have completed a 10,000 sq m seagrass restoration site at Useless Loop in the southern region of WA’s UNESCO World Heritage listed Shark Bay.

Led by Oceans Institute members Professor Gary Kendrick, Dr John Statton, Dr Elizabeth Sinclair, and Ms Rachel Austin from UWA’s School of Biological Sciences, the five-month project also involved Murdoch University researchers, the Tidal Moon Sea Cucumbers company, Malgana Aboriginal Corporation (MAC) Rangers, and the Useless Loop local community and volunteers.

The team harvested ribbon weed and wire weed cuttings, prepared and transplanted about 5,000 cuttings and deployed more than 1,500 seagrass ‘snaggers and wieners’ (sand-filled hessian socks).

MAC Ranger Richard Cross assisted with knowledge-sharing of Sea Country. New trainee rangers learned about different types of seagrass (known as Wirriya Jalyanu to the Malgana people), and how to prepare ribbon weed and wire weed transplants for replanting.