I have over 29 years experience leading successful research programs on topical marine habitats with a focus on seagrass ecology. My passion is finding science-based solutions to apply in the management of marine habitats. I began my research career in government where the importance of having results of research effect change in management and policy was instilled. Based at JCU's Cairns Nguma-bada campus since 2012, I have built a team whose work focuses on coastal development and risk with research outcomes significantly impacting the way seagrass and marine habitats are managed and protected. Results of my work not only lead to advances in the field of seagrass ecology, but have changed practices within coastal development, ports and shipping industries and improved the ability of regulators and managers to protect marine habitats.

My research is built around establishing partnerships with industry, community and government to deliver applied outcomes effecting real change in marine habitat and seagrass protection. My projects span tropical Australia and the Indo Pacific and develop innovative approaches to assess condition of seagrasses and understand the ecosystem services they deliver. Current projects include assessing Blue Carbon potential of seagrass habitats as well as their fisheries values and interactions with dugongs and green turtles.

My work on understanding the drivers and processes of tropical seagrass recovery and loss has led to a current research focus developing restoration approaches for tropical seagrasses to apply across Australia and the Indo Pacific.

Recent Media



  • Restoration of Tropical Seagrasses
  • Ecosystem valuation of marine habitats
  • Monitoring and mapping of tropical marine habitats including coral, seagrass, mangroves and benthic communities
  • Dugong and Green Turtle interactions with tropical seagrasses
  • Investigations of seagrass resilience and reproduction
  • Blue Carbon habitats in the tropics
  • Seagrass assessment & monitoring in Queensland Ports– industry partnerships in high risk areas
  • Developing spatial tools to manage sensitive habitats at high risk from shipping in GBR and Torres Strait Shipping Lanes
  • Establishing the drivers of tropical seagrass change
  • Developing ecologically based triggers for the management of tropical seagrass communities
  • Community and Traditional Owner partnerships for seagrass research and monitoring
  • Developing sub-lethal tools for assessing seagrass stress
  • 2016 to present - Co Director, JCU & North Qld Bulk Ports Research and Monitoring Parnership (Cairns)
  • 2012 to present - Principal Research Scientist, James Cook University (Cairns)
  • 1994 to 2012 - Principal Scientist, Queensland Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry (Northern Fisheries Centre, Cairns)
Research Disciplines

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 334+ research outputs authored by Prof Michael Rasheed from 1992 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

BHP Billiton Group Operation Pty Ltd - Community Project

Restoring Seagrasses and their Blue Carbon in the Wet Tropics region of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area

Indicative Funding
$1,628,081 over 4 years
Our project team will restore tropical seagrass meadows in far north Queensland and monitor their recovery as well as the response of important ecosystem services they provide. The foundation seagrass species at Mourilyan Harbour disappeared in 2010 following consecutive storm and flood events and has not returned naturally due to isolation from other populations. Recent pilot studies have successfully trialled methods demonstrating seagrass survival and growth more than 12 months after planting. Our Team comprises marine scientists, Indigenous rangers and recreational fishing volunteers. The restoration of these habitats should restore ecosystem functions and services such as the capture and storage of blue carbon, increased biodiversity including economically-important fish, prawn and crab species, improved water quality by trapping sediments and nutrients and enhanced cultural links for Indigenous communities by returning feeding grounds for dugong and turtles.
Michael Rasheed, Paul York, Tim Smith, Geoffrey Collins, James Epong, Gavin Singleton, Peter Macreadie, Gudju Gudju, Anthony Edwards, Emma Jackson and Emily Pidgeon (TropWater, OzFish Unlimited, Mandubarra Land and Sea Inc., Dawul Wuru Aboriginal Corporation, Deakin University, Gimuy Walubara Yindinji Elders Aboriginal Corporation, Goondoi Land & Sea Rangers, Central Queensland University and Conservation International)
Seagrass; Restoration; Blue Carbon; Ecosystem Services

Reef Catchments Limited - Contract Research

Seagrass monitoring for Inshore Marine South Zone for the Mackay-Whitsunday-Isaac Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership

Indicative Funding
$89,661 over 3 years
Continuation of annual seagrass monitoring program and development and implementation of seagrass condition report card in the south zone of the Mackay-Whitsunday-Isaac region.
Michael Rasheed and Chris van de Wetering (TropWater)
Seagrass; Mackay-Whitsunday-Isaac; Coastal Habitat; Report Card

Australian Research Council - Linkage - Projects

Future proofing and restoring Australia?s tropical seagrasses

Indicative Funding
$455,348 over 4 years, in partnership with North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation ($180,000) and the Ports North ($150,000)
This project aims to develop and apply a comprehensive framework for restoration of Australian tropical seagrasses using innovative approaches and partnerships. The project expects to provide coastal managers with tools to mitigate and restore seagrass to minimise effects of climate and development related loss, protecting ecosystem services measured in hundreds of millions of dollars. Expected outcomes include new techniques for tropical seagrass restoration, a blueprint for seagrass friendly marine infrastructure, and restoration decision tools applied at local and regional scales. This will provide significant benefits by protecting seagrass ecosystem services and place Australia at the forefront of global seagrass restoration efforts.
Michael Rasheed, Alana Grech, Gary Kendrick, Robert Orth, Paul Doyle and Kevin Kane (TropWater, Research Division, University of Western Australia, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Ports North and North Queensland Bulk Ports)

Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment - Contract Research

Operation Lumut (seagrass) Rescue: taking action to restore and monitor seagrass in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands Marine Park

Indicative Funding
$81,920 over 2 years (administered by Sea Country Solutions Pty Ltd)
This project brings together local knowledge and ecological expertise to develop a robust, restoration program for seagrass habitats at the Cocos Keeling Island?s southern atoll. Specifically, this project will work to improve our understanding of the natural dynamics and resilience of local seagrass habitats and the pressures acting on them to limit natural recovery, and use this information to identify, trial and evaluate restoration activities to drive seagrass recovery.
Michael Rasheed and Paul York (TropWater)
Seagrass; Cocos Keeling Islands; Restoration

North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation - Contract Research

NQBP and JCU Research and Monitoring Partnership ? Seagrass and Coral Studies.

Indicative Funding
$2,391,178 over 5 years
This project conducts the long term annual monitoring of seagrasses and corals in Mackay, Hay Point Abbot Point/Bowen and Weipa. The work forms part of a research and monitoring partnership between JCU and NQBP to monitor and assess marine environmental health within ports as well as support related research and education opportunities for undergraduate and postgraduate students in seagrass and coral ecology and applied management in the ports industry.
Michael Rasheed, Katie Chartrand and Skye McKenna in collaboration with Tony Ayling (TropWater and Sea Research)
Seagrass; Coral; Marine Monitoring; Environmental assessment; Risk Assessment

Ports North - Contract Research

Ports North Seagrass Monitoring Program.

Indicative Funding
$2,023,546 over 9 years
The aim of this research is to monitor seagrass habitats in areas around Mourilyan, Karumba, Cairns and Thursday Island. The objectives include comparing results of previous monitoring and base line surveys and assessing any changes in seagrass distribution and abundance in relation to natural events or human induced activities, and establishing the capacity for recovery of key seagrass meadow types. Relationships between seagrass and environmental parameters, and the drivers of seagrass change will also be investigated.
Michael Rasheed and Skye McKenna (TropWater)
Seagrass; Monitoring & Management; Dugong; Fish Habitats; Great Barrier Reef; Torres Strait

Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment - Marine Parks

Reef lagoon benthic habitat mapping in the Coral Sea Marine Park

Indicative Funding
$498,093 over 3 years
This project will undertake reef lagoon benthic habitat mapping within the Coral Sea Marine Park. Sites to be surveyed are the western lagoon of Holmes Reef, all of Herald Cays, the lagoon between the Diamond Islets in Tregrosse Reef, and the eastern corner of the lagoon in Lihou Reef. This project will produce the first extensive reef lagoon benthic maps of the selected regions in the Coral Sea Marine Park and will be the first seagrass survey in the Coral Sea.
Samantha Tol, Paul York, Michael Rasheed, Robert Coles, Alana Grech and Andrew Hoey (TropWater and Research Division)
Reef lagoon; Coral Sea Marine Park; Macroalgae; Benthic Habitat Mapping; Seagrass; Coral

Torres Strait Regional Authority - Contract Research

Torres Strait Seagrass Research

Indicative Funding
$1,020,353 over 8 years
This seagrass research program continues collaborations with TSRA LSLMU Rangers in the Dugong Sanctuary, and will conduct seagrass baseline surveys at Dungeness Reef. The baseline assessment will form the foundation for ongoing monitoring, and provide essential information to the TSRA, Australian and Queensland Governments for dugong and turtle management plans, complimenting dugong and turtle research studies in the region and building skills and capacity of Traditional Owners and Rangers.
Alexandra Carter and Michael Rasheed (TropWater)
Seagrass; Turtle; Mapping; Dugong; Torres Strait

Central Queensland University - Contract Research

Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership 2023 Seagrass Report Card Proposal: Project ISP011

Indicative Funding
$6,765 (administered by Central Queensland University)
This project will produce annual scores and report on the condition of seagrass in the Gladstone Harbour as part of the Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership. The project is a collaboration between Gladstone Ports Corporation, TropWater and GHHP.
Tim Smith and Michael Rasheed (TropWater)
Seagrass; Gladstone; Score Card; Monitoring

Advisian Pty Ltd - Advisian Pty Ltd

HPCT Berth 1 Upgrade ? Marine Benthic Habitat Assessment.

Indicative Funding
Advisian have engaged TropWATER to undertake a survey to determine the presence/absence of marine plants within and adjacent to the extension proposed at HPCT Berth 1, located at the Port of Hay Point. Specifically, the survey requires assessment of marine plant distribution in the area proposed for expanded dredging.
Skye McKenna and Michael Rasheed in collaboration with Luke Hoffmann and Paul Leeson (TropWater)
Marine plants; Seagrass; Algae; Port

Great Barrier Reef Foundation - Reef Trust Partnership

Mandubarra Healing Country Seagrass Program

Indicative Funding
$60,406 over 1 year (administered by Mandubarra Land and Sea Inc.)
JCU will co-design and implement a habitat mapping program with Mandubarra Land and Sea Rangers on their sea country at Kurrimine Beach/King Reef. JCU will provide training for Mandubarra Rangers on benthic habitat mapping techniques and seagrass identification at a series of workshops and will work with a Mandubarra Project officer to produce maps and a report, present findings and liaise with Mandubarra Rangers, Traditional Owners and the community on recommendations for future collaborations through a series of workshops.
Paul York and Michael Rasheed (TropWater)
Seagrass; Traditional Owner; Network; Ranger; Capacity Owner

Queensland Department of Environment and Science - Contract Research

Mapping of Hervey Bay and Great Sandy Straits seagrass meadows post floods in 2022

Indicative Funding
$415,232 over 1 year
This project will map seagrass meadows across Hervey Bay and collect data on intertidal seagrass habitats in Great Sandy Straits to provide post flood update on the state of seagrass meadows in the region.
Michael Rasheed and Paul York in collaboration with Catherine Bryant, Paul Leeson and Lloyd Shepherd (TropWater)
Seagrass; Mapping; Floods

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • A functional traits-based approach to improve understanding of seagrass resilience and disturbance effects on ecosystem services (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Exploring the return of nursery function in recovering tropical seagrass meadows using capture methods and eDNA Metabarcoding (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Understanding the services provided by marine built infrastructure and designing them to maximise their utility in tropical seascapes (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Informing the Recovery and Restoration of Tropical Seagrasses using a Biophysical modelling approach (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Factors driving Chelonia mydas (green sea turtle) interactions with seagrass meadows within coastal foraging habitats (Masters , Primary Advisor)
  • Future proofing Australia's Tropical Seagrasses: A Recovery and Restoration Framework for key Tropical Species (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)

These are the most recent metadata records associated with this researcher. To see a detailed description of all dataset records, visit Research Data Australia.


The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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