Posidonia oceanica is an endemic seagrass species with its home in the Mediterranean Sea. The meadows are shrinking in wide areas, causing a serious threat to other populations around them.
Seagrass is the single most important breeding habitat in the Mediterranean, providing shelter for juvenile fishes and securing the substrate it is growing on.
While the reasons for the vanishing seagrass meadows, especially in the Adriatic Sea are still being researched and discussed we aim to document the current extend of Seagrass meadows as well as the changes in dimensions.
In the past 2 seasons Project Manaia already kicked off mapping Seagrass meadows on a wide scale. This way we can carefully observe wether a meadow is growing or shrinking over the cause of years. While in several locations we already know the meadows are vanishing we will also focus on replanting seagrass in this season. Therefore not only re-establishing an invaluable habitat but also creating an amazing carbon sink counteracting the increasing carbon saturation of the atmosphere.
In the season of 2020 we will start our trip in the Aegean Sea focusing on the best methods of replanting seagrass meadows and learning from different NGOs that are active in the field in this area.
The second part will be to distribute knowledge and get the word out. For this effort, we are seeking participating Dive Centers, Marine field stations and diving clubs along the route!
Those will get a workshop with us to learn exactly how it is done and what to focus on when it comes to observing the meadows after the initial replanting process. Only by involving the local communities, we will be able to make sure the newly established meadows will grow and survive! So if you are either one of those motivated people yourself or you know of someone in the possible locations please get in touch with us and let us discuss further!
Coastal seagrass could store more CO2 than forests!
A typical terrestrial forest can store up to 30.000 metric tons of carbon per square kilometre. On the other side of sea level, one square kilometre of healthy seagrass meadow can store up to 83.000 tons of Carbon, making it more than twice as effective as a carbon sink.
The other main advantage of Seagrass over a land-based Forrest is this:
Trees tie the carbon into their structures that are mostly above the ground, which again means that ones it gets cut down and eventually burned the Carbon is back in the cycles and is not stored for good.
Seagrass meadows hold the vast majority of the Carbon in their rhizome, a part that does not die off and grows together with the underground on the long run, building it into meter thick layers that will stay below the surface even if the meadow might die off, making it an exceptionally efficient carbon sink in the future!
So if you do the maths one square meter of seagrass meadow can hold as much as 83kg of carbon!
Already calculations show that about 10% of the carbon that gets stored in our oceans ends up in seagrass habitats, even though they only cover around 0,2% of the seabed.
While Seagrass works effectively as a carbon sink it also has other incredible features with it:
– It acts as a coastal engineer holding sediments back that get washed into the ocean but also stabilising the underground to a level where it can balance entire islands and safe them from being washed away by waves and tides.
– And of course, Seagrass is a major habitat of biodiversity, acting as a breeding ground for a variety of fishes and other animals that seek shelter from bigger predators.
Support the Cause
Every cent of your donation goes towards the restoration of seagrass meadows in the Mediterranean.
If you have further questions please get in touch with us!