Seagrass meadows are considered to be a crucial coastal ecosystem at global scale which contribute, alongside mangroves and tidal marshes, to ‘Blue Carbon’ storage. These coastal ecosystems through the process of photosynthesis sequester (capture) and store large quantities of carbon within the plants themselves and the underlying sediment layer. In fact, seagrass in some cases can be 35 times more efficient at capturing carbon than rainforests. Thus, understanding the capacity of seagrass species to store carbon is critical to future research as a possible solution to mitigate global climate change. Therefore, Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation has taken the initiative, in collaboration with scientists from University of Essex (UK), to assess the carbon storage potential for the main seagrass within the Aegean, Posidonia oceanica, that forms vast meadows in most coastal areas.
This project aims to measure oxygen production versus consumption (using cutting edge oxygen-logger technology) as an indicator for carbon storing potential via the process known as “plant productivity”. This project has been underway since this summer at the Archipelagos Research Base in Lipsi Island and will continue into the near future.
Ultimately this project is integral because by assessing the productivity of Posidonia oceanica meadows in Greece, we can estimate the extent to which these seagrass beds in Greece contribute towards thisvaluable and globally important ecosystem service.
Emma A Ward, currently undertaking an MSD in Marine biology at, the University of Essex, UK in cooperation with Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation