Graduate Research School Available Projects Future proofing Australia’s tropical seagrasses: a recovery and restoration framework for tropical ports and beyond

Future proofing Australia’s tropical seagrasses: a recovery and restoration framework for tropical ports and beyond

Title of Project

Future proofing Australia’s tropical seagrasses: a recovery and restoration framework for tropical ports and beyond


A/Prof Michael Rasheed, A/Prof Alana Grech, Professor Gary Kendrick, Professor Bob Orth, Dr Paul York, Dr Tim Smith

College or Research Centre

College of Science & Engineering; The Centre for Tropical Water and Aquatic Ecosystem Research

Summary of Project

Three PhD projects are available as part of an ARC Linkage project that aims to develop and apply a comprehensive framework for restoration of Australian tropical seagrasses using innovative approaches and partnerships. The project will provide coastal managers with tools to mitigate and restore seagrass to minimise effects of climate and development related loss, protecting ecosystem services. Expected outcomes include new techniques for tropical seagrass restoration, a blueprint for seagrass friendly marine infrastructure, and restoration decision tools applied at local and regional scales. This will provide significant benefits by protecting seagrass ecosystem services and place Australia at the forefront of global seagrass restoration efforts.

Seagrasses are one of the most widespread and productive ecosystems in the tropical coastal zone and provide a range of important ecosystem services. The diverse seagrass meadows in tropical Australia are vulnerable to impacts from declining water quality and extreme climate events. These meadows have historically shown a remarkable ability to recover naturally following disturbances, however as threats from development and climate change increase into the future, there is an urgent need to prepare contingencies that will assist recovery of these tropical ecosystems.

Recent large-scale and sustained seagrass declines from cumulative extreme marine heat waves, floods, cyclones and La Niña climate events in the Pacific and the recent Ningaloo Niño in the Indian Ocean have highlighted the need for tropical seagrass restoration as an increasingly necessary management approach. With the intensity of cyclones, storms, floods and marine heatwaves expected to rise with climate change, added to increasing multiple stressors from coastal development, the ability to protect and restore tropical species is becoming even more important.


Three fully funded scholarships are available at $29863

How to Apply

Send a cover letter outlining your research experience, area of intended focus for your PhD, CV and examples of recent scientific publications and academic transcript to A/Prof Michael Rasheed ( ) or Dr Tim Smith ( by 12 December 2022.

More information

Any questions or to request more information contact:

Key Words

seagrass habitats; Tropical Queensland; Great Barrier Reef; coastal ecosystems; restoration; modelling

Would suit an applicant who

is a high-achieving graduate with outstanding Masters or Honours results and ideally publication(s) to join our research team to develop seagrass restoration tools in the tropics. Two PhD projects will be based at James Cook University (Cairns and/or Townsville) and one in Perth WA. We welcome applicants with an interest in the below projects:

  • A critical assessment of tropical seagrass life history traits and restoration techniques.
  • Delivering new models and decision-making frameworks at local and regional scales to identify how and when to prioritise areas for restoration.
  • Seed based restoration techniques for tropical seagrass species.

Successful applicants will have access to substantial mentoring, operational and logistical support through an extensive established program of field work and research projects conducted throughout tropical Queensland by the supervisors and their research team. The research is supported through an ARC linkage grant with three scholarships and additional funding and support provided for the PhD research. Depending on the topic of interest there will be an option to be based at either the Cairns or Townsville Campuses of JCU and in Perth at UWA.

Updated: 03 Nov 2022