Study Finds Seagrass Reduces Ocean Acidification

DAVIS一 On March 31 UC Davis released a study in Global Change Biology showcasing the ability of seagrass to reduce local acidity by up to 30 percent.

The study relied on sensors that were released between 2014 and 2019, which collected data points from seven seagrass meadows along the California coast.

The study found that buffering occurred an average of 65 percent of the time, but varied based on location and season.

Seagrasses naturally absorb carbon when they photosynthesize which drives the buffering ability. Scientists were curious if the seagrass would release the carbon once the sun went down and the study showed that the PH level lasted longer than 24 hours.

“What is shocking to everyone that has seen this result is that we see effects of amelioration during the night as well as during the day, even when there’s no photosynthesis,” said Aurora M. Ricart, lead author on the study. “We also see periods of high pH lasting longer than 24 hours and sometimes longer than weeks, which is very exciting.”

Harbor seals, leopard sharks, and bat rays are just some of the animals that rely on the seagrass meadows for food and their home, and the study could have implications for climate change mitigation, conservation, and restoration efforts.

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