Thursday, May 3, 2018

Green superheroes of the sea: how wetland plants are tackling climate change

Did you know that a single hectare of wetland vegetation – like seagrass, mangroves and marshes – can store twice the amount of carbon that a hectare of tropical forest can store? These grasses and trees of the sea may look a bit weedy, but they certainly pack a punch as they could hold the key to a low carbon future by absorbing and storing carbon from the water and the atmosphere.
Long-term self-storage: Coastal wetland vegetation,
 like the seagrass shown here, can absorb and
 store carbon for hundreds of years.
In fact, a marine heatwave in Shark Bay, WA in 2010-11 caused seagrass loss that resulted in as much carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere as the yearly exhaust of 1.6 million cars!

Mangroves are salt-tolerant trees or shrubs that grow between the tides, while seagrasses are flowering plants that live underwater and grow in sediment on the seafloor. Like plants that live on land, mangroves and seagrasses have roots, stems and leaves. They provide homes for marine life and a supply of nutrients; seagrasses are especially sought after by dugongs and green turtles as a part of their diet.

Read Natalie Kikken’s story from CSIROscope - “Green superheroes of the sea: how wetland plants are tackling climate change.”

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