In recent weeks, at many beaches along the coasts of the Aegean Sea, Cyprus and other areas of the Mediterranean, we have observed a very rare phenomenon that occurs only every 5-10 years. Large volumes of Posidonia oceanica fruits and sees are being released following the flowering we recorded last autumn. This event has not been recorded in the Aegean Sea since the autumn 2012 and spring 2013, flowering and seed development respectively.
Posidonia oceanica are higher plants, thus, unlike algae, Posidonia flowers bear fruits that contain its seeds. Large meadows of this seagrass species provide highly productive habitats and act as an important indicator for the health of our seas.
Given the uniqueness of this P. oceanica fruiting incident, the Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation has begun to carry out experimental planting. The team has collected more than 12,000 fruits and seeds which will be prepared in the coming months for planting. Given the scale and difficulty of this undertaking, there have been very few similar attempts to plant P. oceanica worldwide.
Posidonia oceanica meadows are a vital ally in tackling the effects of climate change. These key habitats can limit and even reverse the effects of this global crisis as they can absorb up to 35 times more carbon than tropical forests.
Their distribution in the Mediterranean has already decreased by at least 34%; primarily due to human activities, such as unregulated anchoring, destructive fishing practices and intensive aquaculture. The damage of P. oceanica meadows causes the destruction of entire ecosystems while simultaneously releasing the blue carbon stored within them.
In an age where human activities are destroying one natural resource after another, Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation believes that it is crucial that we utilise Posidonia oceanica to mitigate the effects of climate change immediately.
Send us your observations!
Across Greece’s vast coastline, exceeding 18,000 km, everyone’s contribution is invaluable in monitoring the extent of P. oceanica fruiting. If you find yourself on coasts or beaches, observe carefully and send photos of any seeds or fruits you find [email protected]!
For Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation
Anastasia Miliou [email protected]