PROJECT TITLE: Assessing the health of dugong populations within Moreton Bay
RESEARCHERS: Dr Janet Lanyon and team
LOCATION: Moreton Bay, Queensland
This will be the ninth year in which the University of Queensland (UQ), Sea World and Sea Life Trust have collaborated to conduct an out-of-water study on the dugong (Dugong dugon) population in Moreton Bay. This collaboration allows the collection of data to help establish baseline clinical health parameters for the species, such as the normal range of blood values, and inter-annual reproductive capacity.
Over a one week period up to 20 dugongs will be studied, with a team of skilled personnel taking approximately 30-40 minutes to sample each dugong and undertake a thorough health assessment. This regular monitoring is one of the most effective ways of identifying threats to both wild dugongs and their inshore seagrass habitats in Moreton Bay.
The sampling involves lifting dugongs out of the water in a specially designed stretcher used to cradle the animals from the water and onto the deck of research vessel Sea World One. As part of the research field biologists will be sampling a selection of dugongs, which are representative of both sexes and each of adult, sub-adult and juvenile size classes.