Wed, 10 February 2021
Coastal Habitats play a very important role in the health of the Ocean and the security of the coastline. Seagrass meadows are one of the critical habitats that are often forgotten because they may not have the "sexiness" that other habitats such as coral reefs have; however, they provide a nursery habitat for thousands of species, filter out nutrients and heavy metals from the water, and act as a carbon sink.
There is one more benefit that certain Seagrass species provide the Ocean and that is filtering out large amounts of microplastics. The Seagrass species, Posidonia oceanica, produce fibrous material known as Neptune balls that trap 1,500 plastic particles per kilogram of seagrass each year. The Neptune balls often wash ashore where they can be picked up and discarded.
Researchers don't know the effects of plastics on the seagrass species as trapping plastic is a fairly new discovery and more research will be required.
P. oceanica is not the only seagrass species to have this ability to trap plastic pieces, Enhalus acodoides, is a species found off the coast of China's Hainan province and has been observed to trap plastics too, just a lesser amount.
The discovery adds to the benefit of keeping Seagrass meadows around; however, the Mediterranean species are slowly disappearing from the area due to a number of threats such as Climate Change, invasive species, pollution, boating anchors, and coastal development.
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Direct download: SUFB_S1118_AMediterraneanSeagrassCanFilterPlasticWaste.mp3
Category:seagrass -- posted at: 12:00am EST