About the theme


Seagrasses provide numerous ecological functions and services in coastal areas, including fisheries production, sediment stabilisation resulting in coastal protection and carbon sequestration. Seagrasses also provide habitat to a wide array of fishes and invertebrates and support populations of herbivores including specially protected species like dugong and marine turtles. Through this research project the ability of managers to respond to increasing pressures was enhanced by improving understanding of the distribution of primary producers, rates of primary production, and the major processes controlling primary production in the Kimberley region.


  • Develop a better understanding of the role of benthic primary producers on macrotidal fringing reef and terraced lagoon environments in the Kimberley.
  • 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 herbivory and how they influence primary production.
  • Develop a protocol for monitoring primary producer condition
  • Incorporate Indigenous knowledge and collaboration into the project.


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


  • Recognition of the high ecological value and social importance of marine plants in the Kimberley.
  • Development of a standardised method and protocol to monitor seagrass that could be used across the Kimberley.

Project News

Report highlights the importance of seagrass in the Kimberley 

The underwater world of the Kimberley

How do Kimberley seagrasses tolerate ‘living near the edge’? 

Saving seagrass sanctuaries


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



Benthic primary productivity: production and herbivory of seagrasses, macroalgae and microalgae (2017 WAMSI Research Conference)

Benthic primary productivity: production and herbivory of seagrasses, macroalgae and microalgae (2017 WAMSI Research Conference)

Seagrasses of the Kimberley (Parks and Wildlife Lunch and Learn seminar)

SeagrassSeaweed and MicroalgalProduction and Grazing (2015 WAMSI Research Conference)


Program: Kimberley Marine Research

Location: Buccaneer Archipelago

Theme Leader: Gary Kendrick, UWA



Final Report