Today was an exciting and productive day for our lab experiments. We got up early and drove to the central coast towns of Budgewoi, Toukley, Canton Beach, The Entrance, Terrigal and Gosford. We sampled three connected coastal lagoons, Lake Munmorah, Budgewoi Lake, and Tuggerah Lake.
Interestingly, the healthiest specimen I saw were floating in, so if we were to sample the area again, it makes a lot of sense to bring scuba gear and rent a boat to get out to the populations further in the lagoon.
The entrance to the lagoons is intermittently closed by the accumulation of sand at the ocean beach and reopens periodically to flush the lakes. Since Lake Munmorah is the farthest from the opening, it likely has a lower flushing cycle than Budgewoi and Tuggerah Lake respectively. Once we got closer to the entrance, the seagrass were overall appearing healthier, and other signs of biodiversity, including presence of algae, a variety of birds - including pelicans, fish - including small pufferfish, snails, mussels and clams. The samples at The Entrance were much healthier, so I will try to plate those first and see where we get. I hope they will survive well the two days in the refrigerator before I can get them plated in the lab. Time is pressing!