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What Role Does The Dugong Play In The Ecosystem?

Wherever they survive, dugongs play an important role in maintaining coastal ecosystems. Their constant browsing of seagrass encourages regrowth – ensuring critical habitat and feeding sites for a host of other marine species, including turtles, dolphins and sawfish.

What do dugongs do?

Dugongs are sometimes called ‘sea cows’ because they graze on seagrasses. These marine plants look like grass growing on a sandy sea floor in shallow, warm water. Dugongs need to eat large amounts of seagrass.

What would happen if dugongs went extinct?

Abu Dhabi If dugongs become extinct, the impact will not be limited merely to the fact that future generations will not get to see the marine mammal — their absence will almost surely have an impact on the availability of sea fish, the staple diet of millions of people across the world.

How do dugongs help the Great Barrier Reef?

As dugongs feed, whole plants are uprooted and a telltale feeding trail is left behind. Dugong play an important ecological role in coastal marine ecosystems, and the status of dugong populations in an area can be used as an indicator of general ecosystem health.

Is the dugong a keystone species?

Furthermore, within the Indo-Pacific region, the dugong can arguably be considered as a keystone species in tropical seagrass ecosystems. The biological and ecological characteristics of dugongs make them intrinsically vulnerable to extirpation, i.e., local or regional extinction (Marsh et al., 2011).

Do dugongs bite?

Venom, bites and stings: Dugongs are non-venomous, do not have a sting and are not known to bite (although beware of the tusks in adults). … When hand rearing dugongs in captivity, keepers should be aware of the potential irritation that bristles may cause to human skin (Marsh 1991).

Are dugongs smart?

Our team at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium think dugongs are unique and incredibly intelligent creatures. … The dugong is one of four species of the order Sirenia, a group of marine mammals are strictly herbivorous meaning they eat only plants.

Why are dugongs so important?

Why it matters

Wherever they survive, dugongs play an important role in maintaining coastal ecosystems. Their constant browsing of seagrass encourages regrowth – ensuring critical habitat and feeding sites for a host of other marine species, including turtles, dolphins and sawfish.

Why are dugongs dying?

Dugongs are threatened by sea grass habitat loss or degradation because of coastal development or industrial activities that cause water pollution. … This makes the conservation of their shallow water marine habitat very important. They also often become victims of bycatch, the accidental entanglement in fishing nets.

How many dugong are left?

The Persian Gulf has the second-largest dugong population in the world, inhabiting most of the southern coast, and the current population is believed to range from 5,800 to 7,300.

Can you eat dugong?

The dugong was a prized source of oil, hide, and meat, and charcoal from their bones was used in sugar refining. The practice was banned in 1965, apart from a limited catch by indigenous Australians, who used dugongs as a food source since before the arrival of European settlers.

Why are dugongs like elephants?

4. Dugongs are sirenians and therefore related to manatees. Though they resemble cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises), dugongs and manatees are believed to be descendants of land mammals that make them more closely related to elephants than whales.

Is a dugong a manatee?

Dugongs (Dugong dugong) are closely related to manatees and are the fourth species under the order sirenia. Unlike manatees, dugongs have a fluked tail, similar to a whale’s, and a large snout with an upper lip that protrudes over their mouth and bristles instead of whiskers.

Which sharks are keystone species?

Tiger sharks are a keystone species and without them, the food web would collapse. Even though tiger sharks have a bad reputation for being aggressive towards humans, they are still a vital part of the aquatic ecosystems.

Can plants be keystone species?

Keystone species can also be plants. Mangrove trees, for instance, serve a keystone role in many coastlines by firming up shorelines and reducing erosion. They also provide a safe haven and feeding area for small fish among their roots, which reach down through the shallow water.

Do dugongs eat fish?

Dugong Diet

Some populations will resort to consuming invertebrates such as shellfish, sea squirts, worms, and jellyfish, especially those hiding along the seagrass.