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  • In coastal ecosystems, seaweeds provide habitat and a food source for a variety of species including herbivores of commercial importance. In these systems seaweeds are the ultimate source of energy with any changes in the seaweeds invariably affecting species of higher trophic levels. Seaweeds are rich sources of nutritionally important compounds such as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and are particularly rich in long-chain (≥ C20) PUFA (LC-PUFA). In southern Australia, the ‘Great Southern Reef’ has one of the most diverse assemblages of seaweeds in the world, which support highly productive fisheries and have been recognised as a promising resource of omega-3 LC-PUFA. Despite this, there is little information on the biochemical composition of most species and how it varies between sites and seasons. To address this knowledge gap, we undertook a survey to assess seasonal variability in the biochemical composition (fatty acids and nitrogen content) of abundant understory seaweeds across three sites in eastern Tasmania. The availability of nutritional compounds differed between sites and was primarily driven by differences in the biomass and the biochemical composition of the nutritious red seaweeds at each site. This variability may explain regional differences in the productivity of commercial fisheries. At the species level, seasonal changes in fatty acid composition were highly variable between species and sites, indicating that multiple environmental drivers influence fatty acid composition of seaweeds in this system. This finding suggests that commercial harvest of seaweeds from eastern Tasmania will need to consider species and site-specific variability in fatty acid composition.

  • The impact of the introduced New Zealand screw shell, Maoricolpus roseus, were assessed using a cageing experiment in SE Tasmania (Bligh Point, D'Entrecasteaux Channel). Three treatments consisted of different substratum type (live, dead and empty shells, and dead shells with 50% occupancy by hermit crabs); which were crossed with 2 levels of screwshell density (high and low). Treatment groups were artificially maintained for 20 months before metabolic chambers were used to quantify the community metabolism of different treatment groups.

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    This dataset describes seagrass at 34 individual meadows from surveys of Dugong and Turtle habitats in the North-West Torres Strait for November 2015 and January 2016. The data includes information on seagrass species, biomass, diversity, and BMI and algae percent cover. This meadow (polygon) layer provides summary information for all survey sites within the 34 individual seagrass meadows mapped in 2015-2016 with information including individual meadow ID, meadow location (intertidal/shallow subtidal/subtidal), meadow density based on mean biomass, meadow area, dominant seagrass species, seagrass species present, survey dates, survey method, and data custodian. ESRI and Landsat satellite image basemaps were used as background source data to check meadow and site boundaries, and re-map where required. The data described by this record is current as of 01/12/2016 for use in the Seamap Australia project. Newer versions of the data, additional 'point' data for 853 sites, and alternative download formats are available from eAtlas.