GPC Members Login
If you have any problems or have forgotten your login please contact [email protected]

Seagrass biodiversity is both a goal and a means for restoration

Coral reefs, seagrass meadows and mangrove forests work together to make the Coral Triangle of Indonesia a hotspot for marine biodiversity. The system supports valuable fisheries and endangered species and helps protect shorelines. But it is in global decline due to threats from coastal development, destructive fishing practices and climate change.

A UC Davis study published recently in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that in the case of seagrasses, biodiversity is not only a goal, but also a means for restoration of this important ecosystem.

The Coral Triangle is home to about 15 species of seagrasses, more than almost anywhere else on Earth. Previous seagrass restoration efforts have primarily focused on a single species.

For this study, the scientists transplanted six common seagrass species at four species-richness levels: monocultures, two, four, and five species. They analyzed how well the initial transplants survived and their rate of expansion or contraction for more than a year. The results showed that planting mixtures of diverse seagrass species improved their overall survival and growth.

"Seagrass beds are important habitats for fisheries species, for protecting shorelines from storm damage, and they provide livelihoods for many millions of humans around the world," said Susan Williams, a professor in the UC Davis Department of Evolution and Ecology and the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory. "Seagrass habitat is being lost at a rate of a football field's area every half-hour, which threatens these important functions. We demonstrated we could improve seagrass restoration success by planting a mix of species, and not just a single species, which has been the common restoration practice in warm regions such as Florida, Texas, and also in Indonesia, where we performed the experiment."

Read the paper: Species richness accelerates marine ecosystem restoration in the Coral Triangle.

Article source: UC Davis.

Image credit: Christine Sur/UC Davis


High CO2 levels cause plants to thicken their leaves, which could worsen climate change effects, researchers say

Plant scientists have observed that when levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rise, most plants do something unusual: They thicken their leaves.

Designing a more productive corn able to cope with future climates

An international research team has found they can increase corn productivity by targeting the enzyme in charge of capturing CO2 from the atmosphere.

‘Turbocharging’ photosynthesis increases plant biomass

Scientists from the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) and Cornell have boosted a carbon-craving enzyme called RuBisCO to turbocharge photosynthesis in corn. The discovery promises to be a key step in improving agricultural efficiency and yield, according to their esearch published in Nature Plants