Director of CMERC Associate Professor Emma Jackson in the seagrass nursery (top).
Director of CMERC Associate Professor Emma Jackson in the seagrass nursery (top).

Family activity helps protects region’s coastal habitat

AN interactive activity which encourages families to help protect the region's seagrass has launched this week.

As part of this year's virtual Ecofest, CQUniversity's Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre focused on the importance of coastal habitats and environmental impact.

Director of CMERC Associate Professor Emma Jackson explained how vital seagrass meadows are to Gladstone's coastal ecosystem.

"As CMERC is home to Queensland's only seagrass nursery and we are leading current research programs for seagrass restoration, it seemed only fitting that seagrass be the star of our activity," Ms Jackson said.

 

Rock hunt characters Dueling Dude, Hairy Hero and Paddle Pal (bottom).
Rock hunt characters Dueling Dude, Hairy Hero and Paddle Pal (bottom).

"Seagrass meadows are vital to our coastal ecosystems as they support a range of marine species," she said.

Ms Jackson said seagrass was in decline due to coastal development, poor water quality and climate change and actively restoring seagrass has become a necessity to support coastal ecosystems.

To help spread awareness, an activity video has launched on Facebook to encourage families to explore the Gladstone Marina campus and Spinnaker Park and find rocks printed with seagrass 'characters'.

The fun characters feature creative names such as Hairy Hero (Halophila decipiens) and Dueling Dude (Halodule uninervis) designed to get children interested in seagrass.

This week, additional information will be released about each of these species to celebrate the diversity of seagrass.

"Seagrass does not get the attention it deserves because most people don't understand it's importance. The goal of the event is to raise local awareness surrounding seagrass rehabilitation and recovery," Ms Jackson said.

To get involved in all the fun, head to Gladstone Regional Council's Facebook page and/or the Virtual Neighbourhood Centre.

For more information, go to facebook.com/events/3974072749279117/