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The wonders of seagrass in the Mediterranean


morska panna plavajuca v morskej luke

With its turquoise waters and picturesque coastline, the Mediterranean Sea is an ideal destination for summer holidaymakers. But did you know that beneath the surface of our seas and oceans are meadows of seagrass, which play a huge role in maintaining healthy underwater ecosystems and our planet? I had the great privilege to visit one of these meadows and swim in it, it was a breathtaking experience. So today I will tell you about them.







Seagrass meadows, which are often overlooked, play an important role in maintaining ecological balance and provide many benefits to both marine animals and humans. In this paper, we will discuss the ecological value and conservation efforts of seagrass meadows in the Mediterranean Sea.

podmorska trava


Ecological value

Seagrass meadows are diverse habitats with a range of ecological values, let's take a look at how they help the seas and our planet.


Biodiversity hotspots

These meadows support a variety of marine species, serving as nurseries and feeding grounds for a variety of fish, crustaceans and molluscs. Endangered species such as seahorses find refuge in these submerged meadows.

morsky konik

Carbon capture and oxygen production

Seagrass meadows play an important role in mitigating climate change by sequestering vast amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Their ability to capture and store carbon is greater than that of terrestrial forests, making them a vital asset in the fight against global warming.

They also produce large amounts of oxygen. One square metre of seagrass can produce 10 litres of oxygen per day.



sea grass cycle


Coastal erosion prevention

The extensive root systems of seagrasses stabilise the sediments along the shoreline and act as natural barriers against erosion caused by waves and currents. This feature helps protect coastal communities and infrastructure from storm waves and sea level rise.

sea grass

Despite their ecological importance, these magical meadows face many threats...


Coastal development

Human activities such as urbanisation and coastal infrastructure development can lead to habitat destruction and pollution, upsetting the delicate balance of these ecosystems.

Large hotels are destroying these meadows, in pursuit of the perfect sandy beach, but are unaware of the impact of their decisions.


Did you know that the Oceans lose one football field of seagrass every 30 minutes?


Pollution

Excessive nutrient runoff from agriculture and urban areas can cause eutrophication (greening of the water - growth and reproduction of algae), reducing the availability of light and negatively affecting the growth of seagrasses.


Climate change

Rising sea temperatures and ocean acidification pose significant threats to seagrass meadows, affecting their growth and survival. Like coral reefs and many other underwater organisms, seagrass needs conditions for its growth that are increasingly difficult to maintain.



Boat anchoring and human carelessness

Improper mooring of ships can cause physical damage to seagrass beds, leading to their degradation and fragmentation. Ships block light from penetrating below the surface, preventing the health of these sensitive ecosystems. Threats also lurk from the shore...

Litter from beaches and irresponsible stay in the water can also significantly damage meadows and their inhabitants.


Goal and conservation efforts

Recognising the critical role of seagrass beds in the Mediterranean, we can also lend a helping hand, whether from home or when we are at sea on holiday.


Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)

Designating specific areas as MPAs helps to protect seagrass meadows and the surrounding marine biodiversity. These protected zones restrict human activity and provide a safe haven for marine life to thrive.


Sustainable fishing practices

Encouraging sustainable fishing practices ensures the protection of seagrass habitats and allows fish populations to recover, supporting the delicate balance of the marine ecosystem.


Responsible holidays

Leaving no litter on the beach and snorkelling with respect for the surroundings are basic things that every holidaymaker should follow. Moreover, if you see some plastic in the water or on the beach, why not help our nature a little?


Public awareness and education

Raising awareness among coastal communities and tourists about the ecological value of seagrass meadows is key to gaining support for their protection and conservation.



skutocna morska panna v mori


The sea meadows may be hidden under the waves, but their ecological value and importance are incalculable. Recognising their role in supporting marine biodiversity, mitigating climate change and protecting coastlines can ensure the conservation and restoration of these ecosystems. After all, it is not for nothing that these magical meadows are called the 'floodplains of the sea'.



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