Unfortunately, these unique and vital ecosystems are facing numerous threats that endanger their existence and the marine life they support.
One of the primary threats to seagrass ecosystems is coastal development. As human populations continue to grow, coastal areas are increasingly being transformed for urbanisation and industrial activities. Construction of harbours, marinas, and coastal infrastructure often involves dredging and land reclamation, leading to the destruction of seagrass beds. Pollution from construction activities, increased sedimentation, and alterations in water flow patterns also negatively impact seagrass habitats.
Excessive nutrient pollution, primarily from agricultural runoff and sewage discharge, poses a significant threat to seagrass ecosystems. High levels of nitrogen and phosphorus in the water fuel algal blooms, which block sunlight and impede seagrass photosynthesis. This phenomenon, known as eutrophication, leads to seagrass decline and eventual die-off.
Overfishing and destructive fishing practices pose a direct threat to seagrass ecosystems. Bottom trawling, the use of dynamite, and unsustainable harvesting techniques damage seagrass beds and uproot the plants. Some fishing gear, such as dragnets and seines, can also inadvertently catch and damage seagrass meadows. The loss of seagrass habitat affects the abundance and diversity of fish and invertebrate species that rely on these areas for feeding, shelter, and breeding.
Formed in 2013, Project Seagrass have been committed to putting a stop to the loss of seagrass whilst ensuring that the benefits they provide communities are sustained now and for the future. Their projects align with their three core pillars; Community, Research and Action.
With the sale of each robe, we contribute funds equal to planting three seagrass seeds - one for each of their pillars.
Project Seagrass understands the importance of involving local communities in conservation programmes, generating both an awareness and understanding of these ecosystems. Education is the key to conservation, and they work collaboratively across many sectors to inspire the next generation and advance the conservation of seagrass and the wider marine environment.
One such example of this work is a project funded by Synchronicity Earth, which supported the roll out of the unique SeagrassSpotter App in Southeast Asia. Through the means of citizen science, the app allows communities, organisations and individuals to engage more with seagrass meadows whilst contributing to a global database to inform local and regional management and conservation efforts.
Bringing together some of the worlds best seagrass scientists, Project Seagrasses research focuses on basic and applied research into the structure, function and resilience of seagrass meadows with projects in Europe, across the Indo Pacific and the Caribbean. The team have proudly led and contributed to over 80 peer-reviewed scientific articles.
To learn more about these important studies, and how they are advancing our understanding of seagrass, visit their publications page.
With a strong belief in the UN Global Goals, Project Seagrass work with a huge range of organisations to monitor and restore seagrass ecosystems, from replenishing damage seagrass meadows in Wales, helping pioneer Scotland's first community led seagrass restoration project to developing a blueprint for upscaling the restoration of seagrass to enhance the resilience of estuarine and coastal waters in England.