Seagrass ecosystem services – What's next?

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Abstract

Seagrasses, marine flowering plants, provide a wide range of ecosystem services, defined here as natural processes and components that directly or indirectly benefit human needs. Recent research has shown that there are still many gaps in our comprehension of seagrass ecosystem service provision. Furthermore, there seems to be little public knowledge of seagrasses in general and the benefits they provide. This begs the questions: how do we move forward with the information we have? What other information do we need and what actions do we need to take in order to improve the situation and appreciation for seagrass? Based on the outcomes from an international expert knowledge eliciting workshop, three key areas to advance seagrass ecosystem service research were identified: 1) Variability of ecosystem services within seagrass meadows and among different meadows; 2) Seagrass ecosystem services in relation to, and their connection with, other coastal habitats; and 3) Improvement in the communication of seagrass ecosystem services to the public. Here we present ways forward to advance seagrass ecosystem service research in order to raise the profile of seagrass globally, as a means to establish more effective conservation and restoration of these important coastal habitats around the world.

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Nordlund, L. M., Jackson, E. L., Nakaoka, M., Samper-Villarreal, J., Beca-Carretero, P., & Creed, J. C. (2018). Seagrass ecosystem services – What’s next? Marine Pollution Bulletin, 134, 145–151. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.09.014

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