Seagrass beds off our coast could be some of the world’s heaviest and oldest organisms

CBC Radio
Mainstreet Nova Scotia
February 12, 2020

Not only seagrasses the only type of plants that flower underwater, but they could be the oldest known organisms on our planet. “The value generated by seagrass is among the highest of any habitat in the world,” explains Worm. The ecosystem services provided by seagrass meadows (such as nursery habitat, spawning habitat, and carbon sequestration) are so valuable that they are valued “in excess of $20,000 per hectare, per year.

In terms of Owls Head Park Reserve, Worm says”[w]hen we think about doing something to that protected land it’s not just about the land, it’s also very strongly connected to the underwater habitat nearby” which could be “very harmful for the seagrass that lives there.”

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From group member Peter Barss:

IT’S NOT JUST DRY LAND AT OWLS HEAD THAT IS “GLOBALLY RARE”

This afternoon (Wednesday 12 February) on CBCs Main Street, Boris Worm discussed the importance of seagrass to the ocean’s—and to the world’s—ecosystem.

During the first four and a half minutes of the eleven-minute interview, Worm describes the essential roles seagrass plays in the environment.

At the four and a half minute mark, he talks about how seagrass is being destroyed, and at the five minute and twenty-five-second mark he talks about how chemical runoff from the land is one of the main causes of seagrass destruction.

At the six-minute mark, he talks about how most of the seagrass has been diminished along Nova Scotia’s coast but then notes that the “seagrass meadows” along the Eastern shore are the exception. They are “probably the best (I’ve seen) in the world,” he said. They are “so dense, so green, and so extensive” that “many different animals are thriving in them.”

“Runoff from golf courses would almost certainly be very harmful to these seagrass beds,” he said.

Boris Worm is a Professor of Biology at Dalhousie University. His observations are not opinions. They are facts. Scientific facts based on field studies.

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