Posted on: September 21, 2012
As we continue our study of Western Australia’s extraordinary biodiversity, this week we look at seagrasses and the ecosystems that they play a role in. You could begin your study by comparing seaweeds and seagrasses – are they different and how? The Fisheries Fact Sheets: Seagrasses and Algae will assist you with this. Put simply, seagrasses are a flowering plant (angiosperm) adapted for survival in salt water. Algae, are not plants at all!
Following this introduction, work your way through one of the newest additions to Marine WATERs – Habitat Protectors. In this lesson plan, students will investigate the role seagrass meadows play in providing an important nearshore habitat for marine organisms. This lesson plan also has an associated Powerpoint Presentation. In activity 1, students will consider the value of seagrasses to the ecosystem and explore the threats towards them. They will use this information to develop an advertising campaign to educate and inform people of the threats to seagrasses and what they can do to minimise these threats.
Did you know? The largest and most diverse seagrass meadows in the world are found in Western Australia. There are an astounding 27 species found in WA, covering an area estimated to be 20,000 square kilometres.
You may like to then look at an ecosystem involving seagrasses in more detail. In the Marine WATERs Lesson Plan: Marine Connections, students will study food chains and food webs and investigate in detail a Shark Bay food web. Shark Bay has the second highest diversity of seagrasses in WA with 12 species, following the south west of the state with 27 species!