Mike Taylor has recently completed one of the first major milestones towards his PhD candidature at The University of Western Australia: the presentation of his PhD Proposal for fellow academics! This is a key step on Mike’s PhD journey, and was the perfect opportunity for Mike to share his research plan with students, researchers and external academics, and receive feedback on the research he is planning to undertake over the next few years.
Mike’s project is focussed on understanding the spatial use of grazing marine megafauna in Shark Bay (Gathaagudu). Green turtles and Dugongs are unique in the marine environment as species that graze on large seagrass beds. These animals rely on seagrasses as a food source and in turn shape the seagrass environment through how and where they feed. Unfortunately, human pressures and the impacts of climate change have severely impacted populations across the world, with Shark Bay being one of the most important remaining population centres. Shark Bay contains some of the largest seagrass meadows in the world as well as large populations of both green turtles and dugongs. Climate change is thought to be the single biggest threat to the habitats and animals found in Shark Bay making understanding the evolving relationships between grazing marine megafauna and their seagrass habitat a priority. The aim of Mike’s PhD is to gain an understanding of where and why these animals move, as well as to provide tools to assist the ongoing protection of these iconic species.