Seagrass meadows provide critical habitat for marine organisms.

Seagrass and food security

Cardiff University

Researchers: Leanne Cullen-Unsworth, Susan Baker and Richard Unsworth (Swansea University)

Funders: Waterloo Foundation, DEFRA

The food security potential of seagrass meadows is being looked at in two projects from Cardiff University.

Seagrass meadows provide critical habitat for diverse groups of marine organisms, but they are increasingly degraded, decreasing their resilience to stressors. Conservation of seagrasses protects ecosystem functioning and marine biodiversity, thus supporting fisheries, coastal defence and other ecosystem services.

This work will help raise the profile of seagrass meadows by evidencing the links between seagrass supported biodiversity and food security.

The research teams include scientists from across the social and natural science disciplines working to demonstrate seagrass meadows as a coupled social-ecological system, and the research engages with local scientists, stakeholders and regulators in both case study locations.

Both projects are of high applied value to a range of stakeholders including local and regional governments, management agencies, fisheries organisations and conservation organisations as well as local communities and local resource users.

The projects will research areas of the world which have been highlighted for high biodiversity, environmental degradation and environmental management needs- the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean (funded by DEFRA-Darwin) and the Wakatobi National Park in the Indo-Pacific (funded by Waterloo Foundation).