Get Regular Updates!
Search
|Seagrass paves the way for carbon-neutral Rotto

Earth

image|

Oscar Serrano

Seagrass paves the way for carbon-neutral Rotto

Seagrass paves the way for carbon-neutral Rotto

Seagrass off Rottnest absorbs enough carbon to offset almost a quarter of the island’s emissions, research suggests.

Seagrass paves the way for carbon-neutral Rotto

Scientists at ECU and UWA have measured the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by seagrass meadows near WA’s Rottnest Island.

They conservatively estimated that seagrass absorbs about 810 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.

That’s a cool 22% of the island’s total annual carbon emissions.

True blue: underwater forests

ECU research collaborator Camila Bedulli, who led the study, says seagrasses are ‘true’ flowering plants.

(That sets it apart from seaweed, which is just algae with aspirations.)

She says seagrass meadows, tidal marshes and mangroves collectively make up what’s known as the ‘blue carbon’ ecosystem.

And they’re excellent carbon dioxide traps.

“They have the capacity [to store] carbon dioxide 40 times faster than terrestrial forests,” Camila says.

But this hasn’t always been well recognised. ECU marine biologist Dr Oscar Serrano says research into seagrass is about two decades behind forests on land.

“Green carbon – the conservation of terrestrial forests for climate change mitigation – has been going for 20 years,” he says.

“Blue carbon is just starting to be considered.”

“And [it’s] not included in, for instance, most national carbon accounting in Australia.”

The seagrass is always greener

Camila says seagrass is one of the world’s most valuable ecosystems, also providing food, habitat and nursery areas for fish, turtles and dugongs.

“Dugongs, for example, they rely really heavily on seagrass as their nutrition,” she says.

Seagrasses also play an important role in maintaining the soil structure.

They also protect against coastal storms by taking the energy out of waves.

“It’s a huge wave barrier,” Camila says.

At Rottnest, Camila says historical boat moorings and anchors have destroyed some of the seagrass.

She says the researchers have been working with the Rottnest Island Authority to restore these areas.

“Those mooring scars, we calculated that it was a loss of about 4.8 hectares,” Camila says.

View Larger
Image|Oscar Serrano
Damaged seagrass off Rottnest Island

A carbon-neutral holiday destination?

Protecting and restoring Rottnest’s seagrass could pave the way for the island to become carbon-neutral, Camila says.

“Dealing with Rottnest Island is really good,” Camila says, “because they already have in place those energy-efficiency [measures] and they don’t use cars.”

Camila Bedulli and Oscar Serrano inspect seagrass at Rottnest Island
Image|Carlos Duarte
Camila Bedulli and Oscar Serrano
Camila hopes the research will help seagrass meadows get included in Australia’s national carbon accounting.

“This study is helping a lot to quantify how blue carbon is important and can be put into the framework,” she says.

Oscar also believes that Rottnest’s seagrass could help make the island more attractive to visitors.

“They have an opportunity to sell it as a brand,” he says.

“’Look, our waters are amazing, they have plenty of seagrass that’s supporting carbon storage, biodiversity, fisheries and so on.

“And they can actually enhance these ecosystem services by assisting [the seagrass] recovery.”

Particle Puns

Republish

Creative Commons Logo

Republishing our content

We want our stories to be shared and seen by as many people as possible.

Therefore, unless it says otherwise, copyright on the stories on Particle belongs to Scitech and they are published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

This allows you to republish our articles online or in print for free. You just need to credit us and link to us, and you can’t edit our material or sell it separately.

Using the ‘republish’ button on our website is the easiest way to meet our guidelines.

Guidelines

You cannot edit the article.

When republishing, you have to credit our authors, ideally in the byline. You have to credit Particle with a link back to the original publication on Particle.

If you’re republishing online, you must use our pageview counter, link to us and include links from our story. Our page view counter is a small pixel-ping (invisible to the eye) that allows us to know when our content is republished. It’s a condition of our guidelines that you include our counter. If you use the ‘republish’ then you’ll capture our page counter.

If you’re republishing in print, please email us to let us so we know about it (we get very proud to see our work republished) and you must include the Particle logo next to the credits. Download logo here.

If you wish to republish all our stories, please contact us directly to discuss this opportunity.

Images

Most of the images used on Particle are copyright of the photographer who made them.

It is your responsibility to confirm that you’re licensed to republish images in our articles.

Video

All Particle videos can be accessed through YouTube under the Standard YouTube Licence.

The Standard YouTube licence

  1. This licence is ‘All Rights Reserved’, granting provisions for YouTube to display the content, and YouTube’s visitors to stream the content. This means that the content may be streamed from YouTube but specifically forbids downloading, adaptation, and redistribution, except where otherwise licensed. When uploading your content to YouTube it will automatically use the Standard YouTube licence. You can check this by clicking on Advanced Settings and looking at the dropdown box ‘License and rights ownership’.
  2. When a user is uploading a video he has license options that he can choose from. The first option is “standard YouTube License” which means that you grant the broadcasting rights to YouTube. This essentially means that your video can only be accessed from YouTube for watching purpose and cannot be reproduced or distributed in any other form without your consent.

Contact

For more information about using our content, email us: particle@scitech.org.au

Copy this HTML into your CMS
Press Ctrl+C to copy

We've got chemistry. Want something physical?