A comparison of threats, vulnerabilities and management approaches in global seagrass bioregions

Alana Grech*, Katie Chartrand-Miller, Paul Erftemeijer, Mark Fonseca, Len McKenzie, Michael Rasheed, Helen Taylor, Rob Coles

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    197 Citations (Scopus)


    Global seagrass habitats are threatened by multiple anthropogenic factors. Effective management of seagrasses requires information on the relative impacts of threats; however, this information is rarely available. Our goal was to use the knowledge of experts to assess the relative impacts of anthropogenic activities in six global seagrass bioregions. The activities that threaten seagrasses were identified at an international seagrass workshop and followed with a web-based survey to collect seagrass vulnerability information. There was a global consensus that urban/industrial runoff, urban/port infrastructure development, agricultural runoff and dredging had the greatest impact on seagrasses, though the order of relative impacts varied by bioregion. These activities are largely terrestrially based, highlighting the need for marine planning initiatives to be co-ordinated with adjacent watershed planning. Sea level rise and increases in the severity of cyclones were ranked highest relative to other climate change related activities, but overall the five climate change activities were ranked low and experts were uncertain of their effects on seagrasses. The experts preferred mechanism of delivering management outcomes were processes such as policy development, planning and consultation rather than prescriptive management tools. Our approach to collecting expert opinion provides the required data to prioritize seagrass management actions at bioregional scales.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number024006
    Pages (from-to)1-8
    Number of pages8
    JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • expert elicitation
    • management
    • marine planning
    • prioritization
    • seagrass
    • threat assessment
    • vulnerability assessment


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