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Sea grass is no patent solution for climate change

Sea grasses are aquatic plants that grow in shallow, light-flooded water on soft sediment. For many animal species, sea grass beds are essential for survival.
Sea grass beds occur worldwide, but are most widespread in the tropics. Until now, it was unknown that they can release more carbon dioxide than they absorb, i.e. that they are not CO2 sinks. (Photo: Hereon / Bryce van Dam)

Regenerating sea grass beds in coastal waters aims at removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to fight climate change. However, tropical sea grass beds can release more carbon dioxide than they absorb. This was shown in a study by an international research team led by biogeochemist Bryce Van Dam from the Helmholtz Centre Hereon, in which also scientists from the IOW participated. Whether the recultivation of sea grass actually is helpful in the climate context depends on their location.

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