Recent trend reversal for declining European seagrass meadows

Type Article
Date 2019-07
Language English
Author(s) de Los Santos Carmen B.1, Krause-Jensen Dorte2, 3, Alcoverro Teresa4, Marbà Núria5, Duarte Carlos M.6, Van Katwijk Marieke M.7, Pérez Marta8, Romero Javier8, Sánchez-Lizaso José L.9, Roca Guillem5, Jankowska Emilia10, Pérez-Lloréns José Lucas11, Fournier Jerome12, Montefalcone Monica13, Pergent Gérard14, Ruiz Juan M., Cabaço Susana1, 15, Cook Kevan16, Wilkes Robert J.17, Moy Frithjof E.18, Trayter Gregori Muñoz-Ramos19, Arañó Xavier Seglar19, de Jong Dick J.20, Fernández-Torquemada Yolanda9, Auby IsabelleORCID21, Vergara Juan J.11, Santos Rui1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Centre of Marine Sciences of Algarve (CCMAR), University of Algarve, Gambelas, 8005-139, Faro, Portugal
2 : Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Vejlsøvej 25, 8600, Silkeborg, Denmark
3 : Arctic Research Centre, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Ny Munkegade 114, Building 1540, 8000, Århus C, Denmark
4 : Centre d’Estudis Avançats de Blanes (CEAB-CSIC), Carretera Acc, Cala Sant Francesc 14, 17300, Blanes, Girona, Spain
5 : Global Change Research Group, Institut Mediterrani d’Estudis Avançats (IMEDEA, CSIC-UIB), Miquel Marquès 21, 07190, Esporles, Illes Balears, Spain
6 : King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Red Sea Researh Center (RSRC) and Computational Bioscience Research Center (CBRC), Thuwal, 23955-6900, Saudi Arabia
7 : Department of Environmental Science, Institute for Water and Wetland Research, Radboud University Nijmegen, Heyendaalseweg 135, 6525 AJ, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
8 : Department of Evolutionary Biology, Ecology, and Environmental Sciences, University of Barcelona, Av. Diagonal 643, 08028, Barcelona, Spain
9 : Department of Marine Sciences and Applied Biology, University of Alicante, PO BOX 99, 03080, Alicante, Spain
10 : Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Powstańców Warszawy 55, 81-712, Sopot, Poland
11 : Department of Biology, Faculty of Marine and Environmental Sciences, Marine Research Institute, University of Cádiz, 11510, Puerto Real, Cádiz, Spain
12 : Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, CNRS UMR 7204 Centre d’Ecologie et des Sciences de la Conservation, Station de Biologie Marine, Place de la Croix BP225, 29182, Concarneau Cedex, France
13 : DiSTAV, Department of Earth, Environment and Life Sciences, University of Genoa, Corso Europa 26, 16132, Genoa, Italy
14 : Coastal Ecosystem Team (FRES 3041/UMR 6134), University of Corsica, BP 52, 20250, Corte, France
15 : Seagrass Ecology Group, Oceanographic Center of Murcia, Spanish Institute of Oceanography, C/Varadero, 30740, San Pedro del Pinatar, Murcia, Spain
16 : Natural England, Pydar House, Truro, TR1 1XU, UK
17 : Environmental Protection Agency, John Moore Road, Castlebar, F23 KT91, Co. Mayo, Ireland
18 : Institute of Marine Research, P.O.Box 1870 Nordnes, 5817, Bergen, Norway Frithjof E. Moy
19 : Medi Ambient, Ajuntament de Badalona, Plaça de la Vila 1, 08911, Badalona, Barcelona, Spain
20 : Department Sea and Delta, Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, Rijkswaterstaat, 4330 KA, Middelburg, The Netherlands
21 : LER Arcachon-Anglet, IFREMER, Quai du commandant Silhouette, 33120, Arcachon, France
Source Nature Communications (2041-1723) (Springer Science and Business Media LLC), 2019-07 , Vol. 10 , N. 1 , P. 3356 (8p.)
DOI 10.1038/s41467-019-11340-4
WOS© Times Cited 221

Seagrass meadows, key ecosystems supporting fisheries, carbon sequestration and coastal protection, are globally threatened. In Europe, loss and recovery of seagrasses are reported, but the changes in extent and density at the continental scale remain unclear. Here we collate assessments of changes from 1869 to 2016 and show that 1/3 of European seagrass area was lost due to disease, deteriorated water quality, and coastal development, with losses peaking in the 1970s and 1980s. Since then, loss rates slowed down for most of the species and fast-growing species recovered in some locations, making the net rate of change in seagrass area experience a reversal in the 2000s, while density metrics improved or remained stable in most sites. Our results demonstrate that decline is not the generalised state among seagrasses nowadays in Europe, in contrast with global assessments, and that deceleration and reversal of declining trends is possible, expectingly bringing back the services they provide.

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de Los Santos Carmen B., Krause-Jensen Dorte, Alcoverro Teresa, Marbà Núria, Duarte Carlos M., Van Katwijk Marieke M., Pérez Marta, Romero Javier, Sánchez-Lizaso José L., Roca Guillem, Jankowska Emilia, Pérez-Lloréns José Lucas, Fournier Jerome, Montefalcone Monica, Pergent Gérard, Ruiz Juan M., Cabaço Susana, Cook Kevan, Wilkes Robert J., Moy Frithjof E., Trayter Gregori Muñoz-Ramos, Arañó Xavier Seglar, de Jong Dick J., Fernández-Torquemada Yolanda, Auby Isabelle, Vergara Juan J., Santos Rui (2019). Recent trend reversal for declining European seagrass meadows. Nature Communications, 10(1), 3356 (8p.). Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :