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what are the benefits of seagrass meadows

P. oceanica litter creates up to 3-m-tall deposits called ‘banquettes’ (Mateo et al., 2003) that protect the shoreline from erosion (Coupland et al., 2007). J.L. This has significant effects on the transport and rates of decomposition of POC derived from mangroves. Seagrass meadows are extremely effective at capturing carbon and can slow down climate change by storing carbon up to 40 times faster than terrestrial forests. Seyedeh Belin Tavakoly Sany, ... Rosli Hashim, in World Seas: an Environmental Evaluation (Second Edition), 2019. Longman Cheshire, Melbourne; Alongi, D.M., 1998. One of these benefits provided by terrestrial and coastal and marine ecosystems is carbon sequestration. 1997). (McKenzie and Campbell, 2004), and Amphibolis spp. 1999). They are also one of the largest blue carbon stocks on Earth; being capable of capturing up to 83 million metric tons of carbon each year (the equivalent to the carbon emitted by approximately 61 million passenger cars in a year). They are also one of the largest blue carbon stocks on Earth; being capable of capturing, each year (the equivalent to the carbon emitted by approximately 61 million passenger cars in a year). Seagrass beds supply 50% of the world’s fisheries, an essential income, and nutrition source for millions of people around the world. Seagrass meadows play a vital role in mitigating climate change and stabilizing the carbon cycle. A net accretion rate of 0.5 mm yr−1 was also observed in Western Australia (Walker and Woelkerling, 1988). In recognition of this, the historic United Nations Paris  Agreement of 2015 emphasizes the critical importance of conserving seagrasses and other Blue Carbon ecosystems. Seagrass meadows are ecosystem engineering species on wave sheltered areas of soft seabed (Bekkby et al., 2008) and have an important function as a three-dimensional habitat for many species (e.g., Christie, Norderhaug, & Fredriksen, 2009), including as nursery areas for numerous fish and invertebrate species. Nursery areas: The relative safety of seagrass meadows provides an ideal environment for juvenile fish and invertebrates to conceal themselves from predators. They occupy about 177 000 km2 along the coasts of all continents, except those in Antarctica, and extend from the intertidal zone down to depths in excess of 40 m (Duarte, 1991; Hemminga and Duarte, 2000). The well-being of human communities all around the globe is closely tied to the health of seagrass meadows. It anchors itself and takes up nutrients from the sediment, and then as it photosynthesizes, pumps oxygen to its roots, aerating the water and submerged soils. obs.). (Zieman et al., 1989), Ruppia spp. As noted earlier, accretion of recalcitrant root and rhizome material by certain species of seagrass can lead to the formation of seagrass reefs. They demonstrated that restoring seagrass meadows also benefit people by providing nursery habitat for fish and shellfish that provide economic support through commercial and recreational fishing. The role of seagrass in carbon sequestration and its potential for supporting the targets of India's Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) are discussed. The habitats that seagrasses provide for juvenile Atlantic cod, generate nutritional (food for people) and economic ( job creation) benefits. Mark the shoreward position of each transect with two poles visible from the offshore end of the transects. A: Seagrass is like salt marsh, only completely submerged. Of the 60 species of seagrass found worldwide, seven grow in Florida waters. Seagrasses evolved from terrestrial plants which recolonised the ocean 70 to 100 million years ago. Thirteen seagrass species have been reported, with all but one present on both coasts (Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, 2016a). Reef-building seagrasses – especially the endemic Mediterranean species Posidonia oceanica – provide a striking example of this process. Seagrass litter can also act as seed material for dune formation by creating roughness and promoting sand accumulation (Hemminga and Nieuwenhuize, 1990). The fact that seagrass is a rooted angiosperm implies an obvious dependence upon the sediment. At a national level, the ecosy… https://t.co/emi08H7Bcj1 week ago, According to @IPBES, run-off from farms laced with synthetic fertilizer has negatively affected terrestrial… https://t.co/Q4d2HT5UjT1 week ago, While covering approximately 0.1% of the Earth's seafloor, seagrass meadows support a wide range of biodiversity (including endemic and endangered species), stabilize sediment, filter water, provide coastal protection, produce more oxygen than rainforests, and form the basis of the world’s primary fishing grounds. 1, 1812433. Ecology of Estuaries, Volume 1: Physical and Chemical Aspects. 22.1). Because they are so photosynthetically productive, seagrass can absorb huge amounts of carbon from the atmosphere. While covering approximately 0.1% of the Earth's seafloor, seagrass meadows support a wide range of biodiversity (including endemic and endangered species), stabilize sediment, filter water, provide coastal protection, produce more oxygen than rainforests, and form the basis of the world’s primary fishing grounds. Although there are conflicting reports concerning the temporal and spatial importance of such redox alterations in wetlands (McKee et al., 1988; Alongi, 1996, 1998), it is generally accepted that large amounts of underground biomass have long-term effects on sediment redox and the associated microbial/elemental cycling. In the presence of such gradients, this information should be used to allocate the effort required to determine seagrass abundance. It's estimated that 35% of the world’s seagrass has already been lost. Native seagrass, Thalassia testudinum, has been seen to be very resilient in the face of storms. The role of seagrass meadows in maintaining high biodiversity is supported by their capacity to expand and diversify the habitat available for other organisms. Conserving and rehabilitating seagrasses is key, and the correct ecosystem management and protection can easily go hand in hand with development. (Cebrian et al., 1997, 2000), Posidonia spp. 1993). Seagrass meadows often occur in heterogeneous environments, where environmental variability is arranged along clearly perceived gradients, such as salinity and turbidity in estuaries, depth along slopes, or gradients of exposure. Indeed, the increase in Maldives seagrass meadows is often viewed negatively, especially by the tourism sector. In general, it appears that outwelling is more likely to occur in mangroves that have an excess of pore-water nutrients, positive net sedimentation, and a macrotidal range (Dittmar and Lara, 2001). Therefore, the degree to which sediment and water column nutrient resources support seagrass production can shift through the year (Short et al. Style and format: Lila García y Clara Gómez, Fisheries are a main threat for many marine and freshwater #ecosystems But, @IUCN in collaboration with… https://t.co/0gF4H5u7zd6 days, 7 hours ago, #NewsRelease #RLE risk assessment of coral ecosystems for the Colombian Caribbean And seagrass adds oxygen to the environment through photosynthesis, just as plants on land do. Small boat with standard safety equipment, Calibrated echosounder and/or weighted measuring line (marked at 5 cm intervals), Dive personnel and equipment, if deep subtidal, Waterproof paper and clipboard or dive slate and writing instrument, Random number generator (table, calculator or computer), If available, Global Positioning System (GPS), compass, bathymetric chart for the area, recent aerial photographs, and underwater video or still camera. Mangroves and salt marshes. Coastal Ecosystem Processes. Sediment accumulation rates of 2 mm yr−1 were observed within perennial subtidal seagrass meadows in the Mediterranean Sea (Gacia and Duarte, 2001; Gacia et al., 2002), indicating net annual sediment accretion. There are, in fact, a growing number of initiatives around the globe with goals aiming towards providing knowledge and mapping support, ensuring seagrass bed restoration, and seeking policy-based solutions to better protect them. Seagrass (Posidonia oceanica) meadow in Formentera Island (Spain). As Sandy Hausman reports, it’s the largest project of its kind in the world, offering benefits on many fronts. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL; Saenger, P.E., 1994. In this article, Izzy Sasada talks to the ‘guardians’ of the carbon sinks – those who have dedicated their lives to the protection of seagrass meadows in the Seychelles. was recorded in the vicinity of the Pulai estuary in Johor (Choo et al., 2001; Sasekumar, 2005). Along the same lines, seagrass stabilize sediments on the seafloor. But it's what they do in their native habitat that has the biggest benefits for humans and the ocean. 6, No. Habitat improvements on site can be backed by action programs in catchments whereby land-holders are encouraged to develop new attitudes toward land custodianship and new practices in land use. Seagrass defends against climate change, protects biodiversity, and is home to numerous keystone species. Because of these benefits, seagrasses are believe… R. Ramesh, ... Ahana Lakshmi, in Coastal Management, 2019. Once on site, drop the weight with the buoy at the selected depth contour to mark the station and extend a 25 m sampling transect, parallel to shore, unless the slope is negligible (i.e., < 0.5 m in 25 m), in which case, the transect can be extended at a predetermined random bearing from the marker. 10.3. In Tanzania, a decline in seagrass was found to have a negative impact on the livelihoods of women who collect invertebrates, such as clams, sea snails and sea urchins, from seagrass meadows. Figure 5. Adaptive management is recommended for ensuring long-term goals are met (Thom 1997). The dugong, a mammal protected under the World Conservation Union list of threatened animals, is now no longer frequently seen in meadows because of the rapid development of industrialization and heavy vessel traffic in the WCPM and Straits of Malacca (Ibrahim et al., 2010; NRE, 2015). Guy M.W. Seagrasses on reef flats are also nutrient sinks, buffering or filtering nutrient and chemical inputs to the marine environment (Kennedy et al., 2010). When comparing estimates of above- and below-ground production of mangroves and salt marshes, we see that mangroves are generally more productive than salt marshes above ground (Table 4). Other important ecosystem impacts of seagrass are indicated with blue arrows. Determine seagrass cover (Section 7.5 or abundance (Section 7.6 in quadrats (minimum of 3) positioned randomly (use a random number generator to predetermine the positions) along the 25 m sampling transect. These seagrass reefs lead to a coastal topography comparable to that of tropical bays, where a reef located 1–2 m below the water surface occurs a few hundred meters offshore, confining a shallow lagoon between the reef and the beach. Available legislation and its potential role in seagrass protection and techniques for seagrass restoration are discussed. They’re ‘ecosystem engineers’, literally creating the foundations of life. During the active growing season, metabolic demands of an array of primary producers comprising the ecosystem can reduce water column nutrient concentrations to very low levels. Mangrove systems are defined as densely rooted forests bordering the lowlands of tropical and subtropical coastlines. Main ecosystem engineering roles of seagrass meadows are indicated with red arrows. The well-being of human communities all around the globe is closely tied to the health of seagrass meadows. Epiphytic layers on seagrass leaves may also contribute to the trapping of particles in seagrass beds by increasing both the roughness of the canopy and the boundary layer on the leaf surface (Koch et al., 2006). This makes it possible for some species, like polychaete worms, to live in this sediment. Mangroves and salt marshes. A number of other recent studies (e.g., Bianchi et al., 1997b) have demonstrated using organic biomarkers that a significantly higher fraction of terrestrially derived material is transported as POC farther onto the continental shelf and slope algal and phytoplankton-derived shelf materials (Moran et al., 1991; Moran and Hodson, 1994; Trefry et al., 1994). Roughly 29 percent of all historic seagrass meadows have been destroyed, mainly due to dredging and degradation of water quality. Seagrass abundance typically shows a parabolic pattern with increasing depth, with low abundance towards its shallow limit, increasing to maximal abundance at intermediate depths, and declining exponentially thereafter (Duarte 1991). of 2015 emphasizes the critical importance of conserving seagrasses and other Blue Carbon ecosystems. Field estimates indicate that the potential for particle contact with leaf surface sometimes approaches 100% in Zostera marina canopies (Ackerman, 2002). However, to date there has been little effort to survey and assess the composition and extent of the seagrass habitat (Milchakova et al., 2005; Payri, N’Yeurt, & Mattio, 2012; Short, Carruthers, Dennison, & Waycott, 2007). While covering approximately 0.1% of the Earth's seafloor, seagrass meadows support a wide range of biodiversity (including endemic and endangered species), stabilize sediment, filter water, provide coastal protection, produce more oxygen than rainforests, and form the basis of the world’s primary fishing grounds. Other common marine species include Halodule spp. Fig. Reef-forming seagrasses include other species characterized by ligneous, persistent rhizomes, such as the tropical species Thalassodendron ciliatum that forms reefs in coastal areas of the Indian Ocean (Duarte et al., 1996). Not only do seagrass … The global export of POC from mangroves and salt marshes varies significantly between specific systems, but generally ranges between approximately 2–420 and 27–1052 g C M−2 yr−1, respectively (Alongi, 1998). Other studies have shown that above-ground production of S. alterniflora is negatively correlated with latitude (Turner, 1976; Dame, 1989) and positively correlated with tidal range (Steever et al., 1976). For example, for a steeply sloping bed with a depth range of 2-3 m, depth intervals of 0.5 m may be suitable. Seagrasses support commercial fisheries and biodiversity, clean the surrounding water and help take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. 1985, Peterson and Borum 1992). This eutrophication process has led to the proliferation of seagrass beds in these areas. In recognition of this, the historic United Nations. They remove nitrogen, so they make the water cleaner," McGalthery explains. Benefits of seagrass meadows. Therefore, a habitat improvement program can include local government development controls, port or bay development programs, catchment management programs, regional development and land-use policies, marine park zoning and management (Chapter 23). The program calls for reductions in nutrient input to the bay to reduce both plankton blooms and epiphyte growth so that seagrasses can receive light for photosynthesis. An exception to this is in the deep waters of the Great Barrier Reef where seagrass grows as much as twice Secchi depth and more (R. Coles, pers. The dampening of waves and currents by seagrass canopies leads to increased sediment deposition (Gacia et al., 1999; Gacia and Duarte, 2001; Hendriks et al., 2008) and decreased resuspension (Lopez and Garcia, 1998). We use cookies to help provide and enhance our service and tailor content and ads. The overall impacts on seagrass systems from incremental expansions in population and development pressures may be significant and difficult to assess with short term studies. Many sea creatures make their home in seagrass meadows. An estimated 2.7 million acres of seagrass meadows grow along … Twilley et al., 1985, 1997; Brinson, 1993; Twilley and Chen, 1998, Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences, USA, Caribbean, Australia, South East Asia. Although leaf-bearing seagrass rhizomes grow vertically at rates of only a few millimeters per year (Marbá and Duarte, 1997), they form a rhizome network called ‘matte’ (Mateo et al., 1997) that, over the years, elevates above the seafloor forming reef-like structures. (1989) Pollard and Moriarty (1991), Alongi, D.M., 1998. Ecosystem Health and Sustainability: Vol. It's estimated that 35% of the world’s seagrass has already been lost. (Day et al., 1989; Hillman et al., 1989; Czerny and Dunton, 1995). In the Florida Keys, turtle grass, manatee grass, and shoal grass are the most common types of seagrass. The amount of below-ground biomass in wetlands has also been shown to alter significantly the degree of anoxia in soils – thereby affecting pH, as well as nutrient and contaminant cycling (Howes et al., 1981). If tides are significant in the area, record the time at which the different depth estimates were made, and convert all of the depth measurements to mean sea level (MSL) using the tide table. However, there are a ton of reasons that show the importance of seagrass as an ecosystem: 1) A protector of the vulnerable. Seagrasses are aquatic flowering plants that are found along a broad latitudinal range. It would seem that two species, Cymodocea rotundata in Port Dickson and Cymodocea serrulata in Johor, have disappeared recently, probably due to environmental pressures (Sasekumar, 2005). Bauer, in Treatise on Estuarine and Coastal Science, 2011. Seagrass leaf litter, which can represent as much as 50–60% of total leaf production, can accumulate in large piles of detritus (e.g., typically along sandy beaches) (Mateo et al., 2003), before they become small enough to be dispersed into the water column and sediments. m−2 (Day et al., 1989) and 10 000–40 000 g-dry-wt. They provide many ecosystem services (Gundersen et al., 2016), including reducing coastal erosion and storing large amounts of carbon. Adapted from Kennish, M.J., 1986. They've been used to fertilize fields, insulate houses, weave furniture, thatch roofs, make bandages, and fill mattresses and even car seats. The benefits of seagrass meadows Seagrass has a high turnover of leaves and the dead ones fall into oxygen-poor sediments below where they trap carbon. We offer a number of analytical methods in this chapter to assist investigators in assessing nutrient and chlorophyll concentrations in and around seagrass beds. Seagrasses have been used by humans for over 10,000 years. Adapted from Alongi, D.M., 1998. In all, 12 species of seagrass have been recorded in shallow water between 0.2 and 1.8 m from southwest Johor to Langkawi, the common species being Halophila ovalis, Halophila minor, Halophila uninervis, Halophila pinifolia, and Enhalus acoroides (Ibrahim et al., 2010; NRE, 2015). The data recorded for the stratified sampling includes date and time, transect description, quadrat size, number of replicates, GPS location, tide condition and water depth. Kennish, M.J., 1986. Tidal freshwater marshes and mesohaline salt marshes, and mangrove systems have been found to be major sources of primary production and EAV POC in estuarine systems (Kirby and Gosselink, 1976; Pomeroy and Wiegert, 1981). 22.4). In the Pacific Northwest of the United States, citizen-based groups are developing habitat improvement programs to restore their damaged watersheds and seagrasses. In common with most areas, seagrass meadows have been lost on a large scale in Nordic countries due to causes such as eutrophication and decreased water quality (Gundersen et al., 2016). Along with rainforests, mangroves, and coral reefs, seagrass meadows have also managed to catch the scientific community’s attention as the effects of extreme climatic events, human activities and invasive species (among others) take their toll on these little-known ecosystems. In the coastal and marine environment, this process is usually referred to as “blue carbon” sequestration and storage. Controls on point-source discharges and urban effluent (e.g., secondary and tertiary sewage treatment at large population centres) help to minimise impacts on seagrasses. Repeat for each sampling transect at the predetermined depth intervals and move on to the next line-of-sight transect across the seagrass bed. Although seagrasses are generally considered to stabilize sediments and trap particles (Figure 5), fine sediment resuspension can be dominant in wave-exposed, high-flow environments where seagrasses do not effectively attenuate water flow (Fonseca and Bell, 1998; Koch and Gust, 1999). Copyright © 2020 Elsevier B.V. or its licensors or contributors. (Heck et al., 1995; Bortolus et al., 1998), Cymodocia spp. Therefore, as island development continues to expand throughout the country, new seagrass habitat is likely to be found, and new species recorded. The lush canopies developed by seagrass meadows affect water flow (Figure 5). Despite the ecological benefits, which will ultimately also benefit the local communities and the tourism sector in many ways, seagrass meadows have yet to receive any protection in the Maldives and are increasingly threatened globally (Orth et al., 2006; Waycott et al., 2009). However, there remains considerable disagreement as to whether mangroves act as net sinks or sources of POC and nutrients to estuaries and adjacent coastal systems (Boto and Bunt, 1981; Twilley et al., 1985; Alongi, 1996; Alongi et al., 1998; Dittmar and Lara, 2001). Animals move between the corals and seagrass meadows depending on their need for food or protection from predators or waves. The above-mentioned physical influences of seagrass structure (leaves, roots, and rhizomes) on biotic variables (predation risk, food availability, and larval retention; Orth et al., 1984; Judge et al., 1993; Irlandi, 1994, 1996) can lead to increased organismal abundance and/or species richness in seagrass meadows relative to adjacent unvegetated habitats (Heck, 1977; Heck and Thoman, 1984; Edgar et al., 1994; Jenkins et al., 1997). Some national standards and guides for seagrass restoration and management can be used to form the basis of a local program (Fonseca 1987, Fonseca et al. The primary aim of these programs is to improve conditions in the system for salmon, however, the improvements also benefit habitats on the delta of the rivers, including the restoration and recovery of damaged and degraded seagrasses in the estuaries. First, seagrass beds reduce the amount of CO 2 in the atmosphere by photosynthesizing and turning CO 2 and water (H 2 O) into oxygen (O 2) and glucose (C 6 H 12 O 6). To determine the patterns of seagrass abundance over a gradient of water depth, a transect method is recommended. Seagrass meadows and patches also serve as refuge to a range of epibenthic organisms that hide from predators in the seagrass canopy, and infaunal species that suffer decreased risk of epibenthic predation within the dense matrix of seagrass roots and rhizomes (Hemminga and Duarte, 2000; Heck and Orth, 2006). Scientists have restored vast sea grass meadows off Virginia's Eastern Shore. The capacity of seagrasses to trap and retain sediment particles via either of the above mechanisms can decrease water turbidity (thus having a positive feedback effect on seagrass photosynthesis and growth; see van der Heide et al., 2007) while elevating the seafloor to some degree. Rates of net primary production for a few selected seagrasses and seaweeds from various locations. It takes up nutrients that would otherwise fuel algae—which, if there’s too much of it, can become a nuisance to people. Extra-local benefits of seagrass meadows in supporting fisheries: Atlantic cod fisheries. Seagrass litter often accumulates in beaches. Christopher Harman, ... Helene Frigstad, in World Seas: an Environmental Evaluation (Second Edition), 2019. Most seagrass meadows in Thai waters are in good condition (Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, 2016b). Eutrophication of the island lagoons is also a likely contributing factor to the blooms of filamentous algae which occur during periods of extremely calm weather at the onset of the northeast monsoon (December), smothering lagoon coral colonies (G. Stevens pers. Similar to coral reefs, seagrass meadows serve as a food source and habitat capable of fostering a diverse group of marine organisms. Seagrass beds supply 50% of the world’s fisheries, an essential income, and nutrition source for millions of people around the world. However, seagrass can also directly intercept suspended sediment particles with their canopies. Seagrass leaves are also ideal for the attachment of larvae and eggs, including those of the sea squirt and mollusk. Location-specific major threats to seagrass ecosystems and their impacts have been examined. Tourists expect clear soft-sandy lagoons and beaches which are clear of the detached seagrass leaves. There are about 60 species of fully marine seagrasses which belong to four families, all in the order Alismatales. The main cause of this nutrient enrichment is likely to have come from sewage effluents leaching into lagoons, waste from fish processing, restricted water circulation due to the creation sea walls, piers, and other solid structures, and sand pumping and dredging which unlocks nutrients from the substrate (MEE, 2017; Miller & Sluka, 1999). We recommend strong use of Integrated Catchment Management programs for the long-term success of seagrass habitat improvements. m−2 (Twilley et al., 1992), respectively. Seagrasses are capable of quickly adapting to naturally changing environmental conditions such as storms and animal disturbance (i.e grazing), but are vulnerable to the direct and indirect effects of human activities. Table 3.

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