Restoration process of Seagrass taken up
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Biodiversity; Environment
- Recently, the restoration process of seagrasses is taken up by Tamil Nadu in the Gulf of Mannar.
Important value additions
- These are flowering plants that grow submerged in shallow marine waters like bays and lagoons.
- These have tiny flowers and strap-like or oval leaves.
- Seagrasses evolved from terrestrial plants that recolonised the ocean around 70-100 million years ago.
- Seagrasses also produce food by photosynthesis.
- They reproduce sexually as well as asexually.
- Some of the important seagrasses: (1) Sea Cow Grass (Cymodocea serrulata); (2) Thready Seagrass (Cymodocea rotundata); (3) Needle Seagrass (Syringodium isoetifolium); (4) Flat-tipped Seagrass (Halodule uninervis), etc.
- Location: These are found in muddy and sandy substrates. These also occur along the coastal areas of India. These are abundant in the Palk Strait and Gulf of Mannar.
- Significance: (1) They provide many ecosystem services; (2) These are also called ‘the lungs of the sea’ because they release oxygen into the water through photosynthesis; (3) Sequesters up to 11% of the organic carbon buried in the ocean; (4) Absorb carbon from the atmosphere. They can capture carbon from the atmosphere up to 35 times faster than tropical rainforests; (5) Help maintain water quality; (6) Filter nutrients released from land-based industries; (7) Prevent soil erosion; (8) Provide food as well as habitat for fishes, octopuses, shrimp, blue crabs, oysters, etc.
- Seagrass beds are facing decline all over the world at the rate of 2-5% annually.
- Threats: Grazing, storms, ice-scouring (abrasion and erosion of seabeds by glaciers), desiccation, eutrophication, mechanical destruction of habitat, overfishing, coastal engineering construction, etc.