A new Internet-based record of Western Australia’s marine plants has been launched by the Australian and State Governments.
The project, which was developed by the Department of Conservation and Land Management in conjunction with a number of Perth institutions, was funded by the Australian Government’s Natural Heritage Trust and Coastwest-Coastcare.
The database provides on-line access to about 1,000 species of WA’s marine macro algae and access to some 20,000 specimen details.
Speaking at the launch in Fremantle today, Environment Minister Judy Edwards said the database would ensure the reliable storage and updating of plant information.
“The marine plants database will be a valuable tool which offers extensive support to agencies, researchers and community groups working to conserve the State’s marine biodiversity,” Dr Edwards said.
“The database - which is incorporated with CALM’s FloraBase terrestrial flora website - provides access to current names and other information such as geographic localities, habitat information and in some cases, images.
“Eventually the project will include descriptions and tools for the identification of our marine plant species, in the same way as those being made available for flora on the land.”
All of WA’s marine macro algae specimens are now housed in the CALM Herbarium’s algal herbarium, and about 14,000 have now been entered on the database and added to the original 6,000 sheets at the herbarium.
Australian Environment Minister Senator Ian Campbell said the database would be an excellent resource for all Western Australians wanting to get involved in the protection of marine plants.
“This system is providing the best available science for volunteers, community groups and natural resource management bodies to make informed decisions about environmental work,” Senator Campbell said.
“Armed with a better understanding, we will be able to make sure our diverse marine life remains healthy now and into the future.”
The Ministers congratulated everyone involved in the development of the database and wished them well with future work.
Online access to the State’s marine plants will be provided via CALM’s FloraBase information system on CALM's website at http://www.naturebase.net/florabase.
Minister's office: 9222 5050