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However, the most extensive habitats
within the harbour are soft and sandy sediments, which provide key ecosystem
functions such as recycling excess nutrients, and are home to large bivalve
populations. Many of these habitats remain contaminated from historical inputs
of heavy metals and other pollutants and have suffered damage through boat
traffic and moorings.
This theme will focus on
restoring soft-sediment habitats and associated shellfish beds, to improve the
functional and overall health of the harbour and to support and develop
recreational fisheries resources.
The latest work from the Sydney
Harbour Research Program, an investigation of how interactions between bivalves
and microbes contribute to sediment health, is being led by SHRP
scientists Assoc. Prof. Paul Gribben, UNSW, Prof. Emma Johnston UNSW, Dr. Katherine Dafforn (Macquarie University), A/Prof Ross Coleman, USyd, Dr. Ana Vila Concejo, UNSW, Prof. Justin Seymour, UTS and A/Prof Maurizio Labbate, UTS) Our work links to many agencies and scientists around SIMS and the Harbour (Office of Environment and Heritage), NSW Department of Primary Industries and the Nature Conservancy.
In collaboration with researchers at the
University of Sydney this project will develop techniques for re-establishing
the once plentiful oyster beds within Sydney Harbour. Oyster beds are the
kidneys of estuarine waterways clarifying water and removing excess nutrients.
Rehabilitation of oyster beds will improve the health of the Harbour, enhance
biodiversity of invertebrates and fish in the harbour. This research is being
supported by the Maple Brown Foundation and a 2019 ARC research grant.
inputs to Sydney Harbour have been regulated since the 1970s, but a legacy of
pollution still remains in the sediments, and is supplemented by stormwater. Much
of the waterway therefore remains degraded and the animals have not returned to
levels that could start to improve sediment and water quality. This project aims
to improve the health of urban waterways by ‘kickstarting’ sediment
communities to assist in recovery. This research involves collaborators from
UNSW, UTS, CSIRO and OEH, and is being supported by the Ian Potter Foundation and the Maple Brown Foundation.