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Managing Seagrasses for Resilience to Climate Change
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Botany. Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Botany. Fysiologi. (marin växtfysiologi)
2008 (English)Book (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
Abstract [en]

There is growing evidence that seagrasses are experiencing

declines globally due to anthropogenic

threats (Short and Wyllie-Echeverria 1996, Duarte

2002, Orth et al. 2006). Runoff of nutrients and

sediments that affect water quality is the greatest

anthropogenic threat to seagrass meadows,

although other stressors include aquaculture, pollution,

boating, construction, dredging and landfill

activities, and destructive fishing practices. Natural

disturbances such as storms and floods can

also cause adverse effects. Potential threats from

climate change include rising sea levels, changing

tidal regimes, UV radiation damage, sediment

hypoxia and anoxia, increases in sea temperatures

and increased storm and flooding events.

Thus, seagrass meadows, the ecosystems that

they support and the ecosystem services that they

provide are threatened by a multitude of environmental

factors that are currently changing or will

change in the future.

Seagrasses are flowering plants that thrive in shallow

oceanic and estuarine waters around the world.

Descendants of terrestrial plants that re-entered

the ocean between 100 and 65 million years ago,

seagrasses have leaves, stems, rhizomes (horizontal

underground runners) and roots. Although

there are only about 60 species of seagrassesworldwide, these plants play an important role in

many shallow, near-shore, marine ecosystems.

Seagrass meadows provide ecosystem services

that rank among the highest of all ecosystems on

earth. The direct monetary outputs are substantial

since highly valued commercial catches such

as prawns and fish are dependent on these systems.

Seagrasses provide protective shelter for

many animals, including fish, and can also be a

direct food source for manatees and dugongs,

turtles, water fowl, some herbivorous fish and sea

urchins. The roots and rhizomes of seagrasses

also stabilise sediments and prevent erosion while

the leaves filter suspended sediments and nutrients

from the water column. Seagrass meadows

are thus linked to other important marine habitats

such as coral reefs, mangroves, salt marshes and

oyster reefs.

This paper presents an overview of seagrasses,

the impacts of climate change and other threats to

seagrass habitats, as well as tools and strategies

for managers to help support seagrass resilience.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IUCN, Gland, Switzerland , 2008. , 56 p.
Keyword [en]
seagrass, management, global change
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-17900ISBN: 978-2-8317-1089-1OAI: diva2:184421
Available from: 2009-01-22 Created: 2009-01-22Bibliographically approved

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