Seagrass is an environmentally sensitive organism, not readily found in polluted areas and rarely near cities.
Which is why we were quite surprised when earlier in the year Richard and Elvis discovered a seagrass patch not very far from our PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre on Gaya Island, just 10 minutes by boat from Kota Kinabalu in Sabah.
Upon closer inspection they discovered the seagrass patch to be well established, albeit quite short, possibly due to too many nutrients in the waters, said our resident PADI Course Director and Marine Biologist Richard.
Seagrass patches attract a variety of creates, most notably dugongs. There is a sizable seagrass patch near Mantanani island along the coast of Sabah, but even there dugongs haven't been spotted for nearly 2 years.
The fact that there is seagrass in the TAR Park, could be indicitive that once upon a time there were more patches like it, likely inhabitated by dugongs.
The discovery of this particular seagrass bed is a good news, as it's growth could be attributed to the increased health of the park, thanks in part to Sabah Parks' increased portection of the park and the general rise of public awareness about environmental affiars.
One of our groups, Glamorgan University from Wales, recently visited to document the patch of seagrass, it's density, health and diversity.
The data will be used in a comparison study next when another group returns for a follow up.