Just as hay, alfalfa, wheat and other grasses are mandatory for animals above sea level to survive, there are grasses below the surface of water that are essential for aquatic life.
Seagrasses provide food and shelter for aquatic life such as fish, sea horses, shellfish, turtles, dugongs and the beloved manatee.
SeagrassNet, an international seagrass-monitoring program, reports that of the 72 species of seagrass, 26 of them are declining in number, while 15 of these should be considered endangered, vulnerable, or near-threatened. Ten of these crucial seagrasses are significantly at risk.
The most obvious places for seagrass decline is along polluted developed coastlines, while a lesser-known culprit is seafloor dredging. Professor Frederick Short, the US director of SeagrassNet reiterates “Many widespread, common seagrass species which are not presently threatened are nonetheless in decline, so we have both an overall loss of habitat and a loss of biodiversity.”
So for all of you manatee and sea turtle lovers out there, the first step to saving them is to save our seagrasses!