Seagrass enhancement via Aerial Drones (SEAD)

Two aerial drones flying over a farm


Seagrass loss often occurs through a process of gradual fragmentation to a critical threshold, after which large meadows can collapse quickly releasing trapped carbon. Waiting until this collapse occurs to intervene is often too late. Reversing fragmentation of large intertidal meadows with traditional methods is impractical.

Scaling up of restoration requires the production, dispersal, and successful germination of seagrass seeds. Seagrass seed dispersal on intertidal areas remains the final challenge.  Covering large areas by foot during a low tide, on soft muds, is impractical and damages the meadows. Dispersal by boat can result in seagrass seeds being moved by currents. In Tropical Australia dangerous marine fauna (shark and crocodiles) also impede the safe access to many sites.


Smart sowing of seagrass seeds to detect gaps in the meadows where habitat is still suitable and getting the seeds there quickly and accurately can overcome this challenge. By combining UAV, LiDAR, and multispectral analysis to map suitable bare patches over large meadows this project aims to research targeted seed dispersal to reverse fragmentation of seagrass


Emma Jackson

Professor Emma Jackson - Project Lead

Professor Emma Jackson is the Director of the Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre and a Research Fellow in Marine Ecology. She has 19 years of research expertise in the areas of fisheries ecology, seagrass landscape and restoration ecology, impacts on marine species, coastal marine habitats and ecosystem health indicators.

At CQUniversity we are committed to embedding sustainable practice in our operations, interactions and relationships, underpinned by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Sustainability sits as one of our strategic pillars within our Strategic Plan 2019-2023.

This project aligns to the following SDG Goals:

  • 9 - Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  • 13 - Climate Action
  • 14 - Life below water
  • 17 - Partnerships for the Goal