Connectivity of seagrass meadows in the central Great Barrier Reef

We used network analysis and the outputs of a biophysical model (Grech et al. 2016) to measure potential functional connectivity on seagrasses in the central Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA), Australia. 

This dataset includes the connectivity matrices of the foundation and non-foundation species habitat graphs, and the edge tables for network analysis. 

Abstract [Related Publication]: The rate of exchange, or connectivity, among populations effects their ability to recover after disturbance events. However, there is limited information on the extent to which populations are connected or how multiple disturbances affect connectivity, especially in coastal and marine ecosystems. We used network analysis and the outputs of a biophysical model to measure potential functional connectivity and predict the impact of multiple disturbances on seagrasses in the central Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA), Australia. The seagrass networks were densely connected, indicating that as modelled seagrasses are resilient to the random loss of meadows. Our analysis identified discrete meadows that are important sources of seagrass propagules and that serve as stepping stones connecting various different parts of the network. Several of these meadows were close to urban areas or ports and likely to be at risk from coastal development. Deep water meadows were highly connected to coastal meadows and may function as a refuge, but only for non‐foundation species. We evaluated changes to the structure and functioning of the seagrass networks when one or more discrete meadows were removed due to multiple disturbance events. The scale of disturbance required to disconnect the seagrass networks into two or more components was on average > 245 kilometres; about half the length of the metapopulation. The densely connected seagrass meadows of the central GBRWHA are not limited by the supply of propagules, therefore management should focus on improving environmental conditions that support natural seagrass recruitment and recovery processes. Our study provides a new framework for assessing the impact of global change on the connectivity and persistence of coastal and marine ecosystems. Without this knowledge, management actions, including coastal restoration, may prove unnecessary and be unsuccessful.

The full methodology is available in the publication shown in the Related Publications link below.

 

    Data Record Details
    Data record related to this publication Connectivity of seagrass meadows in the central Great Barrier Reef
    Data Publication title Connectivity of seagrass meadows in the central Great Barrier Reef
  • Description

    We used network analysis and the outputs of a biophysical model (Grech et al. 2016) to measure potential functional connectivity on seagrasses in the central Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA), Australia. 

    This dataset includes the connectivity matrices of the foundation and non-foundation species habitat graphs, and the edge tables for network analysis. 

    Abstract [Related Publication]: The rate of exchange, or connectivity, among populations effects their ability to recover after disturbance events. However, there is limited information on the extent to which populations are connected or how multiple disturbances affect connectivity, especially in coastal and marine ecosystems. We used network analysis and the outputs of a biophysical model to measure potential functional connectivity and predict the impact of multiple disturbances on seagrasses in the central Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA), Australia. The seagrass networks were densely connected, indicating that as modelled seagrasses are resilient to the random loss of meadows. Our analysis identified discrete meadows that are important sources of seagrass propagules and that serve as stepping stones connecting various different parts of the network. Several of these meadows were close to urban areas or ports and likely to be at risk from coastal development. Deep water meadows were highly connected to coastal meadows and may function as a refuge, but only for non‐foundation species. We evaluated changes to the structure and functioning of the seagrass networks when one or more discrete meadows were removed due to multiple disturbance events. The scale of disturbance required to disconnect the seagrass networks into two or more components was on average > 245 kilometres; about half the length of the metapopulation. The densely connected seagrass meadows of the central GBRWHA are not limited by the supply of propagules, therefore management should focus on improving environmental conditions that support natural seagrass recruitment and recovery processes. Our study provides a new framework for assessing the impact of global change on the connectivity and persistence of coastal and marine ecosystems. Without this knowledge, management actions, including coastal restoration, may prove unnecessary and be unsuccessful.

    The full methodology is available in the publication shown in the Related Publications link below.

     

  • Other Descriptors
    • Descriptor

      This dataset is available as a spreadsheet in MS Excel (.xlsx) and Open Document formats (.ods)

    • Descriptor type Note
  • Data type dataset
  • Keywords
    • connectivity
    • cumulative effects
    • seagrass
    • Great Barrier Reef
    • graph theory
    • networks
    • ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
  • Funding source
  • Research grant(s)/Scheme name(s)
  • Research themes
    Tropical Ecosystems, Conservation and Climate Change
    FoR Codes (*)
    • 050202 - Conservation and Biodiversity
    • 050102 - Ecosystem Function
    SEO Codes
    • 960808 - Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
    Specify spatial or temporal setting of the data
    Temporal (time) coverage
  • Start Date 2013/07/01
  • End Date 2017/10/25
  • Time Period
    Spatial (location) coverage
  • Locations
    • Central Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia
    Data Locations

    Type Location Notes
    Attachment ConnectivityMatrix.xlsx MS Excel (.xlsx) format
    Attachment ConnectivityMatrix.ods Open Document (.ods) format
    The Data Manager is: Alana Grech
    College or Centre
    Access conditions Open: free access under license
  • Alternative access conditions
  • Data record size 173 KB
  • Related publications
      Name Grech, Alana, Hanert, Emmanuel, McKenzie, Len, Rasheed, Michael, Thomas, Christopher, Tol, Samantha, Wang, Mingzhu, Waycott, Michelle, Wolter, Jolan, and Coles, Robert (2018) Predicting the cumulative effect of multiple disturbances on seagrass connectivity. Global Change Biology, 24(7). pp. 3093-3104
    • URL https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.14127
    • Notes
    • Name Grech, Alana, Wolter, Jolan, Coles, Rob, McKenzie, Len, Rasheed, Michael, Thomas, Christopher, Waycott, Michelle, and Hanert, Emmanuel (2016) Spatial patterns of seagrass dispersal and settlement. Diversity and Distributions, 22 (11). pp. 1150-1162.
    • URL http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ddi.12479
    • Notes Outputs from this study were used in the dataset.
    • Name Grech, Alana, Wolter, Jolan, Coles, Rob, McKenzie, Len, Rasheed, Michael, Thomas, Christopher, Waycott, Michelle, and Hanert, Emmanuel (2016) Spatial patterns of seagrass dispersal and settlement. Diversity and Distributions, 22 (11). pp. 1150-1162.
    • URL https://researchonline.jcu.edu.au/46326/
    • Notes Green Open Access (Accepted) Version
  • Related websites
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    • Notes
    Citation Grech, Alana (2017): Connectivity of seagrass meadows in the central Great Barrier Reef. James Cook University. https://doi.org/10.4225/28/59f7ae655a579