Accelerating loss of seagrasses across the globe threatens coastal ecosystems

Waycott, Michelle and Duarte, Carlos M. and Carruthers, Tim J. B. and Orth, Robert J. and Dennison, William C. and Olyarnik, Suzanne and Calladine, Ainsley and Fourgqurean, James W. and Heck, Jr., Kenneth L. and Hughes, A. Randall and Kendrick, Gary A. and Kenworthy, W. Judson and Short, Frederick T. and Williams, Susan L. (2009) Accelerating loss of seagrasses across the globe threatens coastal ecosystems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, 106(30), pp. 12377-12381. 10.1073/pnas.0905620106

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Official URL: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/recent

Abstract

Coastal ecosystems and the services they provide are adversely affected by a wide variety of human activities. In particular, seagrass meadows are negatively affected by impacts accruing from the billion or more people who live within 50 km of them. Seagrass meadows provide important ecosystem services, including an estimated $1.9 trillion per year in the form of nutrient cycling; an order of magnitude enhancement of coral reef fish productivity; a habitat for thousands of fish, bird, and invertebrate species; and a major food source for endangered dugong, manatee, and green turtle. Although individual impacts from coastal development, degraded water quality, and climate change have been documented, there has been no quantitative global assessment of seagrass loss until now. Our comprehensive global assessment of 215 studies found that seagrasses have been disappearing at a rate of 110 square kilometers per year since 1980 and that 29% of the known areal extent has disappeared since seagrass areas were initially recorded in 1879. Furthermore, rates of decline have accelerated from a median of 0.9% per year before 1940 to 7% per year since 1990. Seagrass loss rates are comparable to those reported for mangroves, coral reefs, and tropical rainforests and place seagrass meadows among the most threatened ecosystems on earth.

Item Type: Article
Title: Accelerating loss of seagrasses across the globe threatens coastal ecosystems
Personal Creator/Author:
CreatorsEmail
Waycott, Michelle
Duarte, Carlos M.
Carruthers, Tim J. B.
Orth, Robert J.
Dennison, William C.
Olyarnik, Suzanne
Calladine, Ainsley
Fourgqurean, James W.
Heck, Jr., Kenneth L.
Hughes, A. Randall
Kendrick, Gary A.
Kenworthy, W. Judson
Short, Frederick T.
Williams, Susan L.
Refereed: Yes
Journal or Publication Title: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States
Volume: 106
Number: 30
Page Range: pp. 12377-12381
Date: 2009
Issuing Agency: United States National Ocean Service
Additional Information: PNAS early edition. Article PDF contains 5 pages; supplemental materials PDF contains 4 pages.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ecosystem decline; Global Trajectories; Habitat loss; Marine habitat
Subjects: Conservation
Management
Environment
Item ID: 2445
Depositing User: Patti M. Marraro
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2009 19:07
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2014 19:35
URI: http://aquaticcommons.org/id/eprint/2445

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