Listening to posidonia seagrasses
By studying variations in oxygen production within posidonia seagrasses it is possible to assess how healthy they are. This is extremely important research because these ecosystems along the Mediterranean coast contain a large biodiversity, play a role in preventing erosion of the seabed and beaches, produce oxygen and store large quantities of CO2. These seagrasses are also excellent indicators of the health of the environment. A new method of detecting oxygen production has been tested at the STARESO station at Calvi in Corsica. This involves an acoustic system which makes it possible to analyse the variations in the speed of sound in these seagrasses and to correlate these variations to a high or low level of oxygen gas present in the form of bubbles. This system is allied to an already well-established set of devices which can make a contribution to an understanding of these ancient and fragile ecosystems.
An Environmental challenge
Today, posidonia seagrass meadows are the subject of various research programs, rooted in a politico-scientific movement based on the problem of blue carbon. These initiatives are aimed at preserving oceanic systems that produce a high level of photosynthesis. This preservation can even take the form of attempts to recolonize and redevelop ecosystems that have been damaged by human activity.
(1) Paulo Felisberto, Sérgio M. Jesus, Friedrich Zabel, Rui Santos, João Silva, Sylvie Gobert, Sven Beer, Mats Björk, Silvia Mazzuca, Gabriele Procaccini, John W. Runcie, Willy Champenois, Alberto V. Borges, Acoustic monitoring of O2 production of a seagrass meadow, Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, vol.464, Mars 2015 http://hdl.handle.net/2268/176515