Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Sunday (Maroochydore, Australia)

Dugongs Get Check-Up after Floods Hit Habitat

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Sunday (Maroochydore, Australia)

Dugongs Get Check-Up after Floods Hit Habitat

Article excerpt

Byline: Seanna Cronin

MORETON Bay's dugongs have fared better than their Hervey Bay counterparts after the summer floods, a Sea World and University of Queensland survey has found.

Researchers from UQ, Sea World and Taronga Zoo spent the past two weeks catching wild dugongs to survey the populations' health.

It was the first time the team had carried out its revolutionary capture methods in Hervey Bay, which suffered massive losses to its dugongs after the 1991 floods.

aWe've been studying dugongs with UQ for many years ... but it was only four years ago we developed the techniques and processes to be able to lift them out on board and do the work,a Sea World's director of marine sciences Trevor Long said.

UQ marine mammal researcher Dr Janet Lanyon said the 1991 floods showed the Hervey Bay dugongs were more vulnerable than the Moreton Bay population because their feeding grounds were closer to the coastline.

aThe seagrass beds (in Hervey Bay) copped the full brunt of the floods up there in 1991, and the dugong habitat was virtually lost because the seagrass beds were smothered,a she said. …

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