Oceans are losing a football field of seagrass every 30 minutes
Seagrasses are flowering marine plants that live in shallow coastal waters almost everywhere in the world. The more than 70 species of seagrass provide an important habitat for thousands of ocean animals, from tiny invertebrates, crabs, and turtles to large fish and birds.
Equally if not more important, seagrasses also are natural carbon sinks—even more effective at soaking up heat-trapping carbon pollution than forests on land. They soak up carbon in their leaves, and when they die, they decompose far more slowly than terrestrial plants, so that carbon remains buried for hundreds of years.
“Seagrasses are the ultimate natural carbon sink,” said Richard K.F. Unsworth, a lecturer in marine biology at Swansea University in the UK. “In healthy seas, seagrasses are so productive you can see oxygen rapidly bubbling through the water column as they photosynthesize on a sunny day.”