Measuring the productivity of Posidonia – Blue carbon
Other than hosting the sanctuary, Vroulia Bay has also been the locations of several studies focused on Posidonia Oceanica, microplastics and environmental DNA.In collaboration with scientists from the University of Essex, Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation has investigated the carbon storage potential of Posidonia Oceanica and other seagrass species in the Aegean Sea.
The importance of seagrass meadows lies in the fact that, as coastal ecosystems, they are capable of capturing and storing a large amount of carbon within the plants and the sediment layer, helping enormously in the reduction of the greenhouse effect.
Despite not being mentioned by the general public as much as rainforests, in reality seagrass meadows cover a more efficient role when it comes to climate change mitigation.
As a result, Archipelagos’ research will be fundamental in assessing the productivity of these species and in identifying the most appropriate measures to protect them.
Microplastics in seagrass meadows
Seagrass is also the main focus of another research conducted by Archipelagos in collaboration with the University of the West of England, that aims to understand whether seagrass meadows can easily trap microplastics and increase their deposition within the canopies.
What is known so far is that seagrass meadows, especially Posidonia Oceanica, when compared to unvegetated areas, decrease water flow and causes sediments to settle within the canopies.
Because of the increasing presence of microplastics in our waters, it is possible that the canopies have started to trap the minuscule debris and let it settle on the meadow.
If the results of this study proved such phenomenon, Archipelagos’ current research on microplastics would be able to expand even further, contributing to a discourse that is affecting the planet on a global scale and is threatening not only marine life, but also the human species.
Distribution of eDNA of fauna associated with Posidonia oceanica
The expression “environmental DNA” (eDNA) describes a relatively recent tool employed in conservation to monitor the presence of a determined species.
Using samples of genetic material – such as excretions or skin cells – it is possible to identify the areas within the species moves and settles, with a higher level of precision in comparison to traditional visual surveys.
Archipelagos, joining forces again with the University of the West of England, is embracing this effective method to track the abundance and dissemination of Pinna Nobilis, a bivalve mollusc that thrives on seagrass meadows but is currently severely threatened by mass mortality outbreaks and illegal fishing methods.
This study aims to understand whether semi enclosed environments, such as seagrass canopies, have any type of influence on the dispersal of eDNA.