Protecting our Sea Dragons

Fragile Eco and Sea Dragons

Photography: Professor David Booth

Researchers champion cause of vulnerable marine species

Fragile eco–systems mean that even small changes can have dramatic impacts on some of Australia's unique flora and fauna. Here at UTS, researchers are helping to maintain environments for some of the world's most appealing – and scarce – creatures.

Professor David Booth, director of the Centre for Environmental Sustainability and a member of UTS's Institute for Sustainable Futures, believes we need to be stewards for our flora and fauna.

"We need to be custodians of our land and water. It's important for Australia and the world that our unique flora and fauna are preserved – not just for industries like fishing and tourism but for future generations."

"Australia is the only country in the world that has sea dragons. If we don't look out for them, who will?"

"Take the sea dragon. It's a species unique to this country; it thrives around the south–eastern seaboard and only lives as far north as Port Stephens. What we do on land and in our marine environment has an impact on creatures like the little sea dragon."

"The health of the sea dragon population tells us a lot about the state of our waters. Is the water quality OK? Are there compounds leaching into the sea that are having an adverse impact on our sea life?"

UTS is working to understand how water, the physical and the biological environment interact to provide critical habitat for Australia's plants and land and sea creatures. Government bodies use the data to make critical land and water resource management decisions to help protect the environments for future generations.

"At UTS, our researchers are some of the leading scientists in the world," Professor Booth says. UTS is the only centre for research on sea dragons, anywhere. We punch way above our weight and every donation we receive goes – 100 per cent – towards this vital research that, really, can't be carried out in any other country. Australia is the only country in the world that has sea dragons. If we don't look out for them, who will?"