One of the most surprising and important fighters in climate change comes from an often overlooked plant in the ocean, seagrass. Now, researchers have identified a spot in the Great Barrier reef that is fighting climate change and making a huge difference.
The patch of seagrass, twice the size of New Jersey, is soaking up and storing carbon that would otherwise be directly impacting our planet. Scientists call the seagrass a “blue carbon sink” as the term refers to an ocean or coastal ecosystem that captures carbon compounds from the atmosphere which would instead directly increase the speed of global warming without it.
The new study that was published in Biology Letters suggests that the deep-water seagrass meadows have a central role in the carbon dioxide cycle than previously thought. The authors of the paper compared carbon stocks from deep-water, mid-water and shallow-water seagrasses living at Lizard Island in the Great Barrier Reef and found that the seagrasses in deeper regions contained similar carbon levels as those grasses found in shallower waters.
This discovery is really the first scientific evidence that finds deep-water seagrasses to be just as pivotal as shallower grasses.
According to the authors, they have mapped out nearly 109,000 square of miles sea grasses but believe they believe they have only gotten to less than half of what is really out there.
The amount mapped currently consists mainly of shallower water seagrasses which are much more detectable. The researches believe that if their research is correct, the undetected deep-water grasses around the GBR could be storing tens of millions of tons of carbon.