Worldwide Experiment Shows that Small Animal Diversity Maintains Healthy Seagrass Meadows

Research Press Release | July 17, 2015

Eelgrass bed in the Akkeshi-ko estuary
Eelgrass bed in the Akkeshi-ko estuary



Press Release
Key Points The worldwide experiment was conducted by the Zostera Experimental Network (ZEN), to elucidate the role of eelgrass beds which are considered important in coastal areas
・The network elucidated that health of eelgrass beds are maintained by the biodiversity of small animals living in eelgrass beds
・The output of this research will be useful to promote planning better marine policy, management, and conservation.
Overview

Eelgrass beds developing in shallow seas play important roles in ecosystem functioning of coastal areas. To understand their biodiversity and functions globally, a group of scientists involved in the Zostera Experimental Network (ZEN) conducted a unified field experiment at 15 sites in the northern hemisphere. 


Distribution of eelgrass in the world (green lines) and the study sites (circles)

Distribution of eelgrass in the world (green lines) and the study sites (circles)


The results highlighted that growth of eelgrass is facilitated by the grazing activity of small animals in the beds by acting to prevent decay of eelgrass by overgrowth of ephemeral algae. The results were derived from the evidence that eelgrass without such small animals lost various types of functions eelgrass beds originally provide. The output of this research will be useful to promote planning better marine policy, management, and conservation of eelgrass beds which are declining rapidly from the world’s oceans.

Inquiries

Masahiro NAKAOKA, Professor, Akkeshi Marine Station, Field Science Center for Northern Biosphere, Hokkaido University

TEL: +81-(0)153-52-2056

FAX: +81-(0)153-52-2042

E-mail: nakaoka@fsc.hokudai.ac.jp

Japanese

Link

 アマモ場の健全度はアマモ場に生息する小さい動物によって守られていることが世界規模の実験で明らかに  (2015.5.22)
Publications Biodiversity mediates top-down control in eelgrass ecosystems: A global comparative-experimental approach, Ecology Letters (2015.5.22)

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