July 23, 2020. Life / Nature’s Solutions to Climate Change
Cyril F. Kormos, Shyla Raghav, Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, Russell A. Mittermeier, Brendan Mackey, Wes Sechrest
Like grasses found on land, seagrasses can form dense underwater meadows, some large enough to be seen from space. These immense areas provide habitat to a highly diverse community of animals, from tiny shrimp to large fish, crabs, turtles, and marine mammals.
Seagrass meadows are essential to people around the world for fisheries, coastal protection and maintaining water quality. While seagrass meadows occupy less than 0.2% of the ocean area, 10% of the climate change-causing carbon locked away permanently in the seafloor each year is removed by this ecosystem.
Like all plants, seagrasses depend on light for photosynthesis; hence, they are most common in shallow depths where sunlight is brightest, but deep-growing seagrass has been found to depths of 58 meters (190 feet).
On average,every hectare of seagrass buries 1.4 tonnes of carbon per year (which globally results in up to 80 million tonnes per year of carbon—the equivalent of the annual emissions from 60 million cars) captured by seagrasses and kept out of the oceans and atmosphere.
This is an excerpt from the CEMEX Nature Series Book “Nature’s Solutions to Climate Change” (2019)