Project Seagrass

Advancing seagrass conservation through education, influence, research and action  

SAVING SEAGRASS MEANS SAVING OUR SEAS

Seagrasses are flowering plants that live in shallow sheltered areas along our coast. These sensitive plants are different from seaweed and form bright green leaves. These leaves form large, dense meadows under the sea. Like the coral reefs and rainforest’s of the tropics, these underwater gardens are full of life, hosting many animals of different shapes, colours and sizes. However, like rainforest’s and coral reefs, these incredible underwater gardens are threatened. Globally, estimates suggest we lose an area of seagrass around the same size as two football pitches every hour. Protecting what is left is vital.

Carbon Sequestration

Seagrasses occupy 0.1% of the seafloor, yet are responsible for 11% of the organic carbon buried in the ocean. Seagrass meadows, mangroves and coastal wetlands capture carbon at a rate greater than that of tropical forests.

Fisheries

Seagrass meadows form the basis of the world’s primary fishing grounds, supplying 50% of the world’s fisheries. 32% of commercial fish species utilise seagrass during one part of their lifecycle

Poverty Alleviation

Seagrass meadows support communities and livelihoods. They provide vital nutrition for close to 3 billion people, and 50% of animal protein to 400 million people in the third world.

Biodiversity

Seagrass meadows provide food and habitat for 1000's of species such as shellfish, seahorses, manatees, and sea turtles. Over 30 times more animals live within seagrass compared to adjacent sandy habitats.

 

WHATS AT STAKE

SEAGRASS

1ha of seagrass is lost every hour. Protecting what's left is vital.


WILDLIFE

1000's of species depend on seagrass meadows for food and shelter.

CLIMATE

Seagrass absorbs vast amounts of Carbon, helping in the fight against climate change.

COMMUNITIES

Millions of people directly depend on seagrass meadows.

FISHERIES

Seagrass meadows indirectly support 1/3 of fisheries globally.

HABITATS

Seagrass meadows form connected seascapes.

 
 

DRIVERS OF DECLINE

Despite its importance, seagrass is disappearing...Fast. Storms, disease and human induced threats such as pollution and decreased water clarity, often triggered by excessive nutrients and sediments in runoff from the land, can have devastating local effects. Physical disturbance can also occur from contact with boat propellers and from chain moorings. Generally, if only leaves and above-ground vegetation are impacted, seagrasses can recover from direct physical damage within a few weeks; however, when damage is done to roots and rhizomes, the ability of the plant to produce new growth is severely impacted, and plants may never be able to recover.

Destructive Fishing

Climate Change

Physical Destruction

Coastal Development

Poor Water Quality

Pollution

What's 'One Hectare' worth?

What's 'One Hectare' of seagrass actually worth, and what does it mean to save it? 

Seagrass facts

Our #FunFactFriday gallery is full of fun and interesting facts about seagrass and its associated species.