Mangroves provide coastal protection benefits such as erosion and flood mitigation by attenuating waves and stabilising and accreting sediment. However, extreme events have caused the death of mangrove forests globally, which means that the sediment previously stabilised or accreted can be lost to erosion, increasing water depths and risk of coastal flooding. Although the sediment may be lost, the dead mangrove trunks remain, creating areas of shallow, low-energy wave conditions, which are the preferred conditions for seagrass habitat. It is not yet known if seagrass exists within dead mangrove forests. However, there may be an opportunity to reclaim some of these lost coastal protection benefits if degraded mangrove forests are restored to seagrass habitat, which also stabilises and accretes sediment. This project aims to investigate the opportunities for seagrass habitat in dead mangrove forests as an option to increase the coastal protection benefits of a previously degraded ecosystem. 

Supervisor: Prof Cath Lovelock