Eelgrass Could Save the Planet
Sea grass ecosystems occupy a small percentage of ocean area but account for 50 percent of ocean carbon storage. So why are we letting the beds die?
by Derrick Z. Jackson
Standing in a cove off Massachusett’s North Shore, Juliet Simpson holds a tube filled with some of the most precious mud in the world, mud that could have significant impact in the fight against climate change. But first, that mud needs to revolutionize how we think of sea grass.
a coastal ecologist at MIT’s Sea Grant program, is on the search for
carbon, and in this particular mud sample, which came from a sea grass
bed about eight feet below the water’s surface in Nahant Harbor, chances
are she’ll find quite a bit.
Sea grass, also called eelgrass, photosynthesizes carbon out of the water column and then stores, concentrates, and locks it into the soils beneath it. There, because there is little to no oxygen, bacteria can take centuries to millennia to break it down and to re-release it back into the water and atmosphere…
(read more: Boston Globe)
photograph by Adam Obaza