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Australasian Leisure Management

Int'l - Coastal communities asked to embrace seaweed for its role in migratory seabird survivial

With tomorrow being World Ocean’s Day (8th June, University of South Australia ecologists are urging coastal communities to embrace all that the winter season brings, including the sometimes-unwelcome deposits of brown seaweed that can accumulate on the southern shores.

With tomorrow being World Ocean’s Day (8th June, University of South Australia ecologists are urging coastal communities to embrace all that the winter season brings, including the sometimes-unwelcome deposits of brown seaweed that can accumulate on the southern shores.

UniSA researchers, Tim Davis and Associate Professor Gunnar Keppel, say that councils, residents and tourists must be educated about the ecological role of sea wrack and how removing it from beaches can have a significant impact on the environment and the survival of bird species.

While tidal seaweed (or sea wrack) may seem unsightly – especially at beach-side tourist destinations – the new research shows that it plays a vital role for many migratory seabirds and should be protected.

In the first study of its kind, UniSA researchers show that beach-cast seaweed provides shelter, and a range of microclimates, in addition to food, that ensure the survival of many shore-bird species.

Specifically, sea wrack acts like a reverse-cycle air conditioner creating cooler conditions when the weather is hot and warmer conditions when it is cold, helping seabirds regulate their body temperatures.


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