2011 Winner: Science Innovation Award

Dr Dana Burfeind

Nuisance Algae in Moreton Bay

Caulerpa (ca-lerp-a) taxifolia (tax-e-folia) known as feather algae, is a highly invasive species that is native to Moreton Bay. Its increasing distribution rate has been of concern since 2005, but little has been known about the algae’s ecology or its interactions with seagrasses.

As a postdoctoral research fellow at Griffith University and The University of Queensland, Dana Burfeind (Bur-feend) undertook research which found that seagrass and Caulerpa (ca-lerp-a) dynamics are regulated by water quality in Moreton Bay.  It was also discovered that Caulerpa (ca-lerp-a) does not overgrow seagrass; rather seagrass is lost through declining water quality or large scale environmental disturbances.

From the research undertaken, a model was developed that predicts Caulerpa (Ca-lerp-a) growth and distribution under different environmental conditions, such as light, temperature and nutrients. This will allow for a better understanding of Caulerpa (ca-lerp-a) colonisation within Moreton Bay.