Recovery mechanisms: understanding mechanisms of seagrass recovery following disturbance

Document Type



Western Australian Marine Science Institution


School of Science


Vanderklift M, Bearham D, Haywood M, McCallum R, McLaughlin J, McMahon K, Mortimer N and Lavery P (2017) Recovery mechanisms: understanding mechanisms of seagrass recovery following disturbance. Report of Theme 5 - Project 5.4 prepared for the Dredging Science Node, Western Australian Marine Science Institution, Perth, Western Australia. 25pp. Retrieved from https://www.wamsi.org.au/dredging-science-node/dsn-reports


Although seagrasses are sensitive to natural and anthropogenic disturbances, many species have the capacity to recover from disturbance within relatively short time frames. In tropical regions, such as the north west of Western Australia, small-leaved species of seagrasses are often characterised by natural patterns of loss and recovery over time periods spanning months or longer. Studies have consistently found that vegetative growth (extension of rhizomes of remaining plants) accounts for most recovery, though recovery from seeds has also been recorded. Understanding which of these mechanisms dominates at a particular location is important for predicting the potential for seagrass recovery following loss or reduction in abundance due to anthropogenic disturbance, such as from dredging-related pressures...