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Secret gardens under the sea: What are seagrass meadows and why are they important?

Cullen-Unsworth, Leanne C., Jones, Benjamin Lawrence, Lilley, Richard and Unsworth, Richard K. F. 2018. Secret gardens under the sea: What are seagrass meadows and why are they important? Frontiers for Young Minds 6 (2) 10.3389/frym.2018.00002

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Abstract

In nearly all the seas around the world, in the shallow waters next to the land, are secret underwater gardens. These gardens are home to a special marine (saltwater) plant called seagrass. When seagrass grows in large areas, the habitat it creates is called a seagrass meadow. Seagrass meadows play an important role in keeping our oceans healthy and providing a home for all kinds of marine life. This marine life includes fishes that people eat, such as cod and plaice but also endangered species such as seahorses, turtles, and sea cows. Seagrasses absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide from the surrounding seawater, and so help to reduce the speed of climate change. Seagrasses help protect our coastlines from storms and rising tides because their leaves take energy out of the waves hitting the coast, and their roots act as an anchor in the underwater sand. Seagrasses also soak up nutrients and bacteria, helping to keep our seawater clean. But seagrasses around the world are being lost at a rate of about two football fields every hour. Lots of things can damage seagrass, from polluted water to boats dragging their anchors in seagrass meadows. Overfishing is a problem, since it causes an imbalance in the food chain. Unfortunately, seagrass does not get the attention it deserves because most people are unaware of its existence. We need to increase awareness of the importance of this beautiful and valuable habitat and get more people involved in monitoring and protecting seagrass, before it is too late.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Business (Including Economics)
Earth and Ocean Sciences
Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACES)
Publisher: Frontiers Media
ISSN: 2296-6846
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 1 February 2018
Date of Acceptance: 5 January 2018
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2019 02:25
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/108676

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