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Production and herbivory of seagrasses, macroalgae and microalgae

Other Details: 

Kimberly Marine Research Program: Project 2.2.4
Location: Buccaneer Archipelago
Project Leader: Gary Kendrick, UWA
Telephone: 6488 3998

Final Report

Benthic primary productivity_WAMSI KMRP Project 2.2.4_Kendrick et al 2017_Final

Project Summary Update

Project Aims

  • Understand seasonal differences in biomass and productivity of seagrasses, macroalgae and microalgae on the seafloor
  • Investigate the rates of carbon and nitrogen cycling processes, and how they influence primary production
  • Calculate the rates that animals eat the seagrass and algae
  • Improve design of monitoring programs
  • Develop better ecosystem models to predict the likely outcomes of changes to climate and human use patterns

Project Methods

  • Video of grazing rates and identity of herbivores
  • Hole punch and tagging methods of seagrass species
  • Sediment coring
  • Nutrient flux measurements

Project duration July 2013-June2016


  • publications
  • policy guidelines
  • codes of practice
  • GIS referenced maps
  • map layers
  • models

Longer term goals beyond the life of the project

The ability of managers to respond to increasing pressures will be enhanced by improved understanding of the distribution of primary producers, rates of primary production, and the major processes controlling primary production, in the Kimberley region.

Research Articles

Pedersen, O., Colmer, T. D., Borum, J., Zavala-Perez, A. and Kendrick, G. A. (2016), Heat stress of two tropical seagrass species during low tides – impact on underwater net photosynthesis, dark respiration and diel in situ internal aeration. New Phytol, 210: 1207–1218. doi:10.1111/nph.13900


  1. Report highlights the importance of seagrass in the Kimberley (WAMSI Bulletin June 2017)
  2. The underwater world of the Kimberley (Landscope March 2017)
  3. How do Kimberley seagrasses tolerate ‘living near the edge’? (New Phytologist blog)
  4. Saving seagrass sanctuaries(Science in Public)


Kendrick G et al. Benthic primary productivity: production and herbivory of seagrasses, macroalgae and microalgae. 2017 WAMSI Research Conference (audio) (audio of Q&A) Presentation slides

Kendrick G et al. The magnitude and importance of herbivory in the Kimberley. 2017 WAMSI Research Conference (audio) Presentation slides

DPaW Lunch and Learn Seminar: Seagrasses of the Kimberley presented by Professor Gary Kendrick (14 April 2016)