Project Leaders

Catherine Collier

Catherine Collier


Kathryn McMahon

Kathryn McMahon


Project Collaborators

Supporting regional planning in northern Australia: Building knowledge, skills and partnerships for understanding seagrass distribution




The challenge:


Northern Australian seagrass meadows support dugongs, green turtles, fish, prawns and many other important species. Understanding their distribution and health now, and over time, is essential so regional planners have the right information to make the right decisions about community activities and economic development.

Unfortunately, for large areas of the coast, data on these important habitats is lacking. Few large-scale surveys have been done, and only a handful of ongoing monitoring programs exist.

Presently, regional planning often proceeds without accurate seagrass information, therefore, with very minimal understanding of potential effects on these critically important ecosystems.


Our approach:


Our project addresses gaps in seagrass knowledge by collecting and analysing existing data from various agencies, and undertaking surveys and monitoring of regions prioritised because they have minimal or no data-sets. Our collaborations with and support from Traditional Owners, general community, planners, managers, rangers, other researchers and government agencies, are integral in this work. Our activities include:

  • Helicopter, drone and boat-based surveys

  • New technology evaluations and utilisation for surveys, monitoring, modelling and analysis

  • Production of a website resource of seagrass data

  • Information products and events tailored to the various groups who utilise seagrass data



Regional planners and managers supported with accurate information on seagrass distribution

Indigenous and general communities participating in surveys, monitoring and management

Innovative technology and processes that support remote-community Indigenous managers