Michael has been conducting research on topical marine habitats focusing on seagrass ecology for over 26 years. He heads the Seagrass Ecology Lab based in JCU's Cairns campus. He has a BSc in Zoology & Ecology and an Honours degree from Flinders University and was awarded a PhD from JCU for research investigating recovery and succession in tropical seagrass communities. Michael's passion is finding science based solutions to apply in the management of marine habitats. He has built a team whose work focuses on coastal development and risk and has significantly impacted on the way seagrass and marine habitats are managed and protected. Results of his 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.

  • 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 value of tropical marine habitats
  • 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 partnerships for seagrass research in the Torres Strait
  • Blue Carbon habitats in the tropics
  • Developing sub-lethal tools for assessing seagrass stress
  • 1994 to 2012 - Principal Scientist, Queensland Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry (Northern Fisheries Centre, Cairns)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives

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 245+ research outputs authored by Dr 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

Australian Research Council - Linkage - Projects

Future proofing and restoring Australia?s tropical seagrasses

Indicative Funding
$455,348 over 3 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, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, The University of Western Australia, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Ports North and North Queensland Bulk Ports)

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

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 Christine Bryant, Paul Leeson and Lloyd Shepherd (TropWater)
Seagrass; Mapping; Floods

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

Mapping Marra Sea Country with a focus on benthic habitats of the Limmen Marine Park

Indicative Funding
$283,720 over 2 years
Understanding the distribution and composition of benthic habitats in the Limmen Marine Park is necessary to manage the park in accordance with the North Marine Parks Network Management Plan and support the aspirations of the Marra People. Our team will survey the marine benthic habitats within and adjacent to the marine park. Recommendations for the marine park?s co-management will be developed. Project outputs will be relevant to multiple users and made accessible by optimizing media streams, including a short film about the Limmen marine park from the perspective of the Marra people and sea rangers.
Catherine Collier, Alexandra Carter, Rachel Groom, Robert Coles and Michael Rasheed in collaboration with Lloyd Shepherd and Paul Leeson (TropWater and Australian Institute of Marine Science)
Marine Parks; Co-management; Traditional Owners; Benthic habitats; Seagrass; Monitoring

Reef Catchments Limited - Contract Research

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

Indicative Funding
$76,015 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.
Alexandra Carter and Michael Rasheed (TropWater)
Seagrass; Coastal habitat; Mackay-Whitsunday-Isaac; Report Card

Torres Strait Regional Authority - Contract Research

Torres Strait Seagrass Research

Indicative Funding
$857,528 over 7 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

Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment - National Environmental Science Program 2 (NESP 2) - Marine and Coastal Hub (NESP MAC Hub)

Synthesizing Three Decades of Seagrass Spatial Data from Torres Strait and Gulf of Carpentaria

Indicative Funding
$41,837 over 1 year, in partnership with the Torres Strait Regional Authority ($10,000)
The Gulf of Carpentaria and Torres Strait have globally significant seagrass habitat that provide food for threatened dugong and turtle, and habitat for commercially important fish and prawns. Key to understanding, managing, mitigating risk, and monitoring seagrass in this remote region is reliable data on seagrass distribution and species composition and how these changes through time. Data on seagrass has been collected in these areas since the 1980s, but data location and storage from these efforts remains disparate, in many cases not publicly available, and in some cases has already been lost. Our study will compile, validate and synthesize historical seagrass spatial data to create a publicly available database accessible on eAtlas. This product will provide end-users with a valuable spatial resource to assist management and monitoring of seagrass in the region.
Alexandra Carter, Skye McKenna, Robert Coles and Michael Rasheed (TropWater)
Seagrass; Torres Strait; Dugong; gulf of carpentaria; Green Turtle; spatial data

Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment - National Environmental Science Program 2 (NESP 2) - Marine and Coastal Hub (NESP MAC Hub)

The role of Dugong and Turtle Grazing in Torres Strait Seagrass Declines

Indicative Funding
$50,000 over 1 year, in partnership with the Torres Strait Regional Authority ($34,000)
Declines in seagrass meadows in the Torres Strait Western Cluster were recorded in 2019 and 2020. These meadows are culturally important and represent significant foraging grounds for green turtles and dugongs. This project will use a short-term field study to investigate the role of megaherbivore grazing in two key locations where seagrass declines have been most dramatic. This project has been co-developed with the TSRA, Sea Rangers and Goemulgaw PBC in response to community concerns about seagrass declines and the implications for the totemic megaherbivores they support. The results will inform Traditional Owner led dugong and turtle management plans.
Abigail Scott and Michael Rasheed (TropWater)
Seagrass; Torres Strait; Dugong; Green Turtle; Grazing; megaherbivore

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)
  • The return of fish nursery function in recovered and restored tropical seagrass meadows (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)

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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  • E1.016K, Health & Sciences (Cairns campus)
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