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Can preserving humble seagrass help protect us from the extremes of human-induced climate change?
The oceans have long been recognised by science as vital for capturing carbon and renewing the atmospheric balance that preserves life on earth. While vast amounts carbon are captured by phytoplankton, less well known has been the role played by seagrasses in storing carbon, cleansing the air and providing essential habitat for marine life.
Based on latest UTS marine research, this public lecture reveals the essential place of seagrasses in global ecology, the growing threats to its continued viability and the work that is being done to rehabilitate the areas of seagrass habitat already lost.
Professor Bill Gladstone
Marine biologist Bill Gladstone applies scientific understanding to solve problems in marine conservation and environmental management. His interests lie in assessing conservation values in marine ecosystems, the selection and management of marine parks, and community participation in marine conservation. He has worked throughout NSW, the Great Barrier Reef, Torres Strait, the Coral Triangle, and the Middle East.
Dr Peter Macreadie
Marine ecologist Peter Macreadie is a UTS Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow. His research cover a wide range of systems; from deep-sea reefs to intertidal oyster reefs. Peter’s current research focuses on seagrasses to better understand how their resilience to climate change can be improved, and how can we capitalise on their ability to capture and store atmospheric carbon.
Professor Peter Ralph
Peter Ralph has been working with seagrasses since the early 90’s, when he pioneered the use of optical methods of measuring photosynthesis to examine the impact of pollution on seagrass health. More recently, he is developing new tools to assess the ability of an entire seagrass meadow to fix carbon. This work is now part of an international research agenda lead by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to demonstrate the importance of seagrasses in the global carbon cycle.
UTSpeaks is an annual free public lecture series presented by UTS experts discussing a range of important issues confronting contemporary Australia.
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