Project Seagrass

Seagrass is the lesser known wonder of our underwater world. It is vital we protect it.

Bethan Thomas – Conservation Officer, Project Seagrass

Why I Support Them

Seagrass ecosystems have long been undervalued and under appreciated. But their contribution to the marine environment and the planet as a whole cannot be overstated. They are an essential part of a balanced planet Earth.

Project Seagrass focuses entirely on this valuable ecosystem. Their mission to educate people on its importance and work to protect remaining seagrass meadows. The first step to that protection is knowing where they are. Since they aren’t as flashy as coral reefs nor as large as mangrove forests, seagrasses aren’t always easy to locate (although some huge seagrass meadows can be seen from space!). Project Seagrass has created SeagrassSpotter to enable citizen scientists to document seagrass locations and species and ultimately contribute to their protection.

With so many threats facing our ocean, we all want to be involved in conservation efforts. Thank you to Project Seagrass for giving all of us a way to contribute and protect these essential marine plants!

How They Help the Ocean

Project Seagrass was created with the approach of turning cutting-edge research into effective conservation action and education schemes, by collaborating with local communities and other stakeholders. As a dedicated team of seagrass scientists, we work to protect seagrass, and through seagrass, we support marine conservation more broadly.

Our mission is to lead societal change to enable the recognition, recovery and resilience of seagrass ecosystems globally; that provide biodiversity, equitable and sustainable livelihoods, and planetary life support. Project Seagrass is an environmental charity devoted to the conservation of seagrass ecosystems through education, influence, research and action.

Why Their Work is Important

Seagrasses are flowering plants that live in shallow sheltered areas along our coast. These sensitive plants are different from seaweed and form bright green leaves. These leaves form large, dense meadows under the sea. Like the coral reefs and rainforests of the tropics, these underwater gardens are full of life, hosting many animals of different shapes, colours and sizes. However, like rainforests and coral reefs, these incredible underwater gardens are threatened. Globally, estimates suggest we lose an area of seagrass around the same size as two football pitches every hour. Seagrass protects our coastlines from erosion, improves water quality, supports 20% of the worlds biggest fisheries, supports biodiversity, sequesters carbon and more. Protecting what is left is vital.

Our citizen science program, SeagrassSpotter, is a conservation and education tool that could lead to new discoveries about seagrass. Ocean enthusiasts around the world can become citizen scientists who contribute to marine conservation with just a few taps of their phone. As part of efforts to build a sustainable monitoring network, and by leveraging the enthusiasm of everyone from fishers to SCUBA divers to people on vacations at the beach, we’ll create a more comprehensive picture of seagrass meadows around the globe. This in turn will inspire new scientific research and practical conservation measures that can help protect ocean habitats.

Seagrass Ocean Rescue is our collaboration with WWF, Sky and Swansea Univeristy. This project has recently restored seagrass in a small experimental two hectare area (approximately two rugby pitches) in collaboration with local people in Dale in West Wales. Over the coming years we also aim to inspire future major projects in other areas to restore the UK’s seagrass meadows to help support our climate, our fisheries and our coastal livelihoods.