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Seagrass monitoring and management: Is it enough?

Land, M. van 't (2010) Seagrass monitoring and management: Is it enough? Bachelor's Thesis, Biology.

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Abstract

Seagrasses are an important underappreciated part of the marine ecosystems. They play a significant role in the carbon cycle and primary production and they serve as important habitats for other marine organisms. Decreases in seagrass populations occur frequently as natural variations but added anthropogenic effects are creating a problem since the seagrasses are now disappearing. The main problem is the rapid growth in human activities along coastlines, such as: boating, fishing, dredging, altered water flow and poor land management. The most influential problem for the seagrasses themselves is the increase in turbidity and nutrient loading. To prevent the seagrasses from disappearing measures need to be taken to protect them. Monitoring programs observe seagrass populations and their habitat and detect any changes in population size and density thus detecting fluctuations. Focusing only on abundance and density however, is not sufficient because once a decline is detected it may be too late too counter the effect. Programs should focus on monitoring habitat quality; early detection of changes in habitat quality could help detect the source before the seagrass populations are affected. For an increase in predictiveness of the programs more research needs to be done to create a better understanding of seagrass ecology and evolution. Seagrass conservation still consists of many challenges such as; communication problems between different parties (scientists, managers, public), low public interest and awareness, low predictiveness of monitoring programs and the lack of knowledge on seagrasses. For seagrass transplanting efforts to work the source of seagrass decline needs to be dealt with first. Management plans such as the Habitat Directive and Water Framework Directive aim at protecting the seagrasses from human activities and improving the water quality. The current conservation efforts done to protect seagrasses are not enough but they are improving. It is very important to increase the knowledge we have on seagrasses through research and use this knowledge to improve the predictiveness of monitoring programs allowing managers to intervene before the seagrasses are affected. Genetics and genomics could create a better insight into how seagrasses were effected by certain effects in the past giving us insight into what might happen in the future. But before this is done a clear protection plan has to be created in which it clearly states how seagrasses are protected. This plan then needs to be executed which will hopefully result in an improvement of habitat quality followed by restoration attempts.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 07:31
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 07:31
URI: http://fse.studenttheses.ub.rug.nl/id/eprint/9171

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