The Beacon

Blog Tags: Seagrass

Ocean Roundup: Seagrass Travels via Ocean Currents, Plump Leatherbacks Can Swim More Easily, and More

Seagrass is found to travel via ocean currents and ocean animals

Seagrass meadows off Spain. (Photo: Oceana / Sergio Gosálvez)

- New research shows that seagrass has an incredible ability to spread over vast distances of the ocean, which gives them an ability to migrate with climate change and be able to recover from habitat disturbance. The scientists found that seagrass fruit and flowers spread by hitching rides on ocean animals, in animal feces, and in ocean currents. Phys.org


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Ocean Roundup: Acidification Masking Shark Smelling Abilities, New Fishery Rule to Protect Endangered Albatross, and More

Smooth dogfish could lose their sense of smell from acidification

A smooth dogfish (Mustelus canis). (Photo: Erickson Smith / Flickr Creative Commons)

- NOAA has proposed a new rule to for West Coast commercial fishermen that intends to the endangered short-tailed albatross, a seabird whose numbers are down to 1,200 individuals. The rule requires fishermen to deploy streamer lines, already required off Alaska and Hawaii, which would scare off albatross from eating bait. The Associated Press


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Ocean News: Barbuda Becomes Ocean Conservation Leader in the Caribbean, July Ocean Temperatures Hit Record Highs, and More

Barbuda is a leader in ocean conservation in the Caribbean

A rocky ledge off Barbuda. (Photo: Ron Kroetz / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Scientists say that seagrass habitat is being lost at the same rate as Amazon rain forests, or about two soccer fields per hour. The scientists warn that this is key habitat for many young fish, so the loss of seagrass could have a huge impact on fisheries. BBC


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New Report: Why Healthy Oceans Need Sea Turtles

Imagine a healthy, beautiful ocean. Now remove the sea turtles, one by one.

Not so healthy anymore, is it?

That’s the gist of the report we released today, Why Healthy Oceans Need Sea Turtles: The Importance of Sea Turtles to Marine Ecosystems. The report describes the vital roles sea turtles play in the ecosystem, and how the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is further threatening their ability to fulfill those roles.

As the report outlines, sea turtles provide the following important ecosystem services:

  • Maintain healthy seagrass beds through grazing
  • Maintain healthy coral reefs by removing sponges when foraging
  • Facilitate nutrient cycling by supplying a concentrated source of high-protein nutrients when nesting
  • Balance marine food webs by maintaining jellyfish populations
  • Provide a food source for fish by carrying around barnacles, algae and other similar organisms
  • Increase the rate of nutrient recycling on the ocean floor by breaking up shells while foraging
  • Provide habitat for small marine organisms as well as offer an oasis for fish and seabirds in the open ocean

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