Western Australian Marine Science Institution
School of Science
This review was undertaken to identify which seagrass primary producers (species or different functional groups) that collectively cover the bio-geographic range of key primary producers in the north west of Western Australia (NWWA) are most appropriate for the focus of subsequent research into thresholds and indicators of response to dredging-related pressures (i.e. Theme 5). An assessment framework was developed based on six criteria: biogeographic range; ecological relevance (life-history strategy, habitats, natural dynamics and ecological services); current knowledge on thresholds and bioindicators; likelihood that species are sensitive and resilient to dredging related stressors; extent of improvement in applied knowledge; and likelihood of being able to grow seagrass species successfully in mesocosms. For each criterion, one or more assessment metric was developed. These were then used in a hierarchical decision-making process to identify the species most appropriate for the focus of subsequent research. The first step identified those species with the broadest biogeographic range, which were found in the most regions and habitats and which had the greatest ecological significance and prioritised the species for further investigation (Priority 1, 2 and 3). The second step identified species that encompassed a range of sensitivities and resilience to dredging and which, collectively, offered the greatest opportunity to improve our knowledge and understanding of primary producer responses to dredging-related pressures...
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