This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Protecting The Great Barrier Reef Dugong

3855 words - 16 pages

Protecting the Dugong

The dugong (Dugong dugon) is the only herbivorous mammal that is strictly marine and is the only extant species in Family Dugongidae. A characteristic dugong weighs about 400 kilograms and can grow up to three meters long (Stonehouse, 1992). It is easily distinguished from others in order Sirenia by its triangular whale-like tail. The manatee, the other member of order Sirenia, has a distinct paddle-shaped tail and spends its life in rivers and estuaries. Like the manatee, dugongs have a thick layer of blubber giving them a distinctly rotund posture, have small paddle-like flippers positioned far forward on the body, and a broad, flattened tail. The ochre brown ...view middle of the document...

1991).

Current theories suggest that the ancient dugong (Protosiren) was related to the ungulates (ancient hoofed mammals) and an ancestor of the elephants that fed on shallow sea grass meadows of the Caribbean during the warm Eocene period (54-38 MYA). The manatees appeared during the Miocene (26-7 MYA), when climate favored growth of plants in fresh water settings. Today there are only four species of siren: one dugong and three manatees. Up until 300 years ago, there also existed a 25-foot arctic Sirenian, the Stellar’s Sea Cow (Stonehouse, 1985).

As members of order Sirenia, dugongs are part of a unique group of non-ruminant herbivores; lacking a chambered or compartmentalized stomach. Expending little energy compared to other mammals of the same size, the dugong’s slow metabolic rate is attributed to a lack of natural predators and a constant warm environment. Few competitors for food in contrast to the complex division of resources found on terrestrial habitats also allow sirens to apply little energy in common behavior (Reynolds et al. 1991).

ECOLOGICAL POPULATION STATUS

There is a lack of information on the historical population status of dugong, except for observational sighting reports. A past account of dugong population size in Australia as quoted by Bertram and Bertram (1973) states that "In July 1883, a herd in Moreton Bay was reported as extending over a length of about three miles with a width of 300 yards." However, there is no certainty whether dugong populations are substantially reduced from pre-European times, or whether they have reached critical limits for continuity (Chase, 1981).

The current ecological status of dugongs includes a dugong population in the southern Great Barrier Reef that can only cope with a human-caused mortality of less than 1-2% each year. Therefore, a population of 100 dugongs can only cope with the loss of one to two animals per year. The current rate of mortality, believed to be between 6% and 10% annually, is totally and irrevocably unsustainable (GBRMPA).

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION

The only marine mammals that feed primarily on plants, dugongs are the only vegetarian sea-dwelling mammals. Dugongs generally frequent coastal waters. Major concentrations tend to occur in wide protected bays, shallow mangrove channels and in lees of large inshore islands (Heinsohn et al. 1979). These areas are naturally synchronized with hefty seagrass beds. The dugong has wide range of distribution, from longitude 30°E to 170°E and between the latitude of 30°N to 30°S. However, the population is thinly distributed in scattered groups within this range. Major populations were reported in Australia, the Persian Gulf, parts of the Red Sea, northern and eastern coasts of east Africa, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Pacific Islands. Most of the world's dugongs are found in Australian waters, from Shark Bay in Western Australia, across the Northern Territory, and to Moreton Bay in Queensland. Of the 80,000...

Other Essays Like Protecting The Great Barrier Reef Dugong

Diversity Essay

1762 words - 8 pages .5 (a) Case Study: Barrier Reefs The Australian Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,600 kilometres over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres. The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland in north-east Australia. The Great Barrier Reef supports a diversity of life, including many vulnerable or endangered species

Marine Biology - Coral Bleaching Essay

2118 words - 9 pages in protecting our shorelines from tsunamis, hurricanes, and typhoons. Acting as a natural barrier in slowing down ocean currents and big waves keeping erosion at bay. Two, they bring millions of dollars worth of tourism to coastal areas that contain them. According to 'Status of the Coral Reefs of the world: 2008'"….zones of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste. This region is

Australia Paper

584 words - 3 pages Rachael Himes Final essay questions AUIP North Queensland 1. What was your best experience on the AUIP Queensland trip? Why? My favorite experience during the AUIP Queensland trip was snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef. I have been fascinated by the ocean ever since my first trip to Myrtle Beach in 2002. I have always been interested in marine biology but have never taken an opportunity to take a course and really learn about it. I

I am Australian- What it means to be Australian- Speech

360 words - 2 pages all around the world as its own, offering them a level playing field so that they can rise using their own strengths and abilities, doesn't it identify Australia?All in all the beautiful but complex marine life living in harmony sharing crystal clear waters of the uniquely Australian, Great Barrier Reef, symbolizes how we live in harmony with the people of this wonderful country of ours.

Outdoor Environmetnns Can Be Fun

431 words - 2 pages ) include adaptations to a life in the trees, such as the prehensile tails of New World monkeys. -Insects make up the largest single group of animals that live in tropical forests Great barrier reef -animal life; fish turtles sea snakes whales & dolphins hard corals snails & clams giants clams nudibranchs (sea slug) sea stars sea cucumbers -450 types of corals -1500 types of fish -4000 types of molluscs -it covers over 35 million hectares

Bottom Trawling Shouldnot Be Banned

1825 words - 8 pages country. Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Rene Montero signed the statutory instrument to ban bottom trawling. December 31, 2010, was a historic decision by Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s administration and the Oceana organization, which had made these environmentally friendly decisions on the heel of the threat from UNESCO that it would strip the Belize Barrier Reef System of its World Heritage Site status. According to Danson, a well-known

Global Warming

1807 words - 8 pages concentration of population in coastal areas, an economy strongly dependent on world commodity prices, tourism dependent on the health of the Great Barrier Reef and other fragile ecosystems, and economically and socially disadvantaged groups of people. Impacts of climate change will be complex and to some degree uncertain, but increased foresight would enable us to optimise the future through planned adaptation and mitigation. Mitigation can reduce the

Australian Physical Environments

771 words - 4 pages near Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. It is the largest and most widely known Australian landform. The slow erosion of a mountain range made it. This rock formation is made out of a type of sandstone called feldspar and possibly 25%-35% quartz. The Three Sisters in Katoomba, New South Wales. These rock formations were also made by erosion as the soft sandstone erodes easily from wind, rain and rivers. Great Barrier Reef is the largest

The New Land

623 words - 3 pages dinner off Darling Harbour. The night lights reflecting off the water made the view spectacular. For our special trip, we could not resist seeing Uluru, Perth, and wading in the Indian Ocean. I was particularly impressed with Steve Erwin’s zoo. Walking with the kangaroo in their own habitation, without fences between us, was a unique experience. Our last and final stop was a whole week of scuba diving in the famous Great Barrier Reef. We

Oceanic Damage: What Have We Done to Our Planet?

4872 words - 20 pages reefs have survived throughout decades of abominable abuse and are clinging to life as it stands, even throughout a global warming epidemic and tourism. Many of said reefs, some in wildlife preservation areas like the Great Barrier Reef, span 1,400 miles long and most of which is tourism limited. However, all over the world, “Reefs have long been under threat from destructive fishing practices, sediment and nutrient runoff, coral mining

Ipr Campaign Case Study: “Best Job in the World”

4527 words - 19 pages Queensland’s tourism industry. For the purpose of increasing international awareness of Queensland’s tourist attractions, in January 2009, they started this IPR campaign with a small budget. They advertised a vocation as a “caretaker” for the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef, which included a generous salary of $150,000 for six months contract, and free housing in a luxurious setting on Hamilton Island. The job has not limitation in age, gender

Related Papers

Great Barrier Reef Essay

1090 words - 5 pages suggest there will be additional impacts, some may have severe consequences. According to a “Special Report – by Liz Minchin” The Great Barrier Reef will become functionally extinct within decades at the current rate of global warming, while wilder weather is set to affect property values and drive up insurance bills in many Australian coastal communities. The Great Barrier Reef abounds with wildlife. Including dugong and green turtles. A

The Great Barrier Reef In Australia

3527 words - 15 pages COUNTRY Australia - QueenslandNAME Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (includes Great Barrier Reef Marine Park)IUCN MANAGEMENT CATEGORYV (Protected Landscape)Natural World Heritage Site - Criteria i, ii, iii, ivBIOGEOGRAPHICAL PROVINCE 6.01.01 (Queensland Coastal)GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION The Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area extends for more than 2,000km off the east coast of Australia, from just south of the Tropic of Capricorn to the

Hinchinbrook Island Essay

1425 words - 6 pages Hinchinbrook Island lies east of Cardwell and north of Lucinda, Queensland Australia. Hinchinbrook Island is part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and wholly protected within the Hinchinbrook Island National Park, except for a small resort. It is the largest island on the Great Barrier Reef.[2] It is also the largest island national park in Australia.[3][4] On the mainland adjacent Hinchinbrook Island is Girringun National Park, Kirrama

Biodiversity Essay

5433 words - 22 pages other documents. If you wish to use this report in any other manner, please contact us to request permission. Biodiversity Conservation Strategy 2013 The Great Barrier Reef Biodiversity Conservation Strategy 2013 provides a framework for improving biodiversity conservation in the Great Barrier Reef Region. It has been developed in consultation with Australian and Queensland government agencies, researchers, industry representatives and