Seagrasses help suppress pollution, a recent study has found.
12:41 18 February 2017
A recent study has underlined the importance of seagrasses to the health of coastal ecosystem citing evidence that the underwater plants help suppress pollution. They cycle nutrients, act as a sink for carbon dioxide, stabilise sediments and provide nursery habitat for fisheries. Known for their anti-microbial properties, seagrasses also help improve the condition of coral reefs.
Researchers from New York’s Cornell University said: "The plants play so many important roles and what we've shown is just another reason to support their conservation,"
Dr Joleah Lamb, who was involved in the study, said: "We don't really understand the exact mechanisms that are driving the reduction in the load of harmful bacteria, but it could be the result of the seagrasses themselves and their natural chemistry, or the other organisms that are filtering the water within the seagrass meadows,"
"But it could also be that because they're plants, they're adding a lot of oxygen to the water through photosynthesis. That's interesting because wastewater treatment facilities will often use pulses of oxygen to deactivate bacterial pathogens."
Co-author Jeroen van de Water, from the Scientific Center in Monaco, added: "Aquaculture is undergoing a big increase worldwide because of the global food shortage. But because marine organisms (in fish farms and the like) are densely populated, disease outbreaks are quite a problem.
"Maybe it would be interesting to integrate seagrass treatment systems with aquaculture, to reduce the cost on the environment but also economically."