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How Seagrasses Help Mitigate Against Climate Change
6 March, 7:30 pm-9:30 pm
Australia is blessed with a rich diversity of seagrasses – marine flowering plants that occur around the continent. These plants serve a critically important role in providing a range of marine ecosystem services, including the provision of food and regulating the quality of our marine waters and the global atmosphere. Despite their importance, many people remain ignorant of seagrasses and the severe threats they face.
In this presentation, Paul will introduce Australia’s rich diversity of seagrasses, describe their evolution, the critical ecosystem services they provide and the current trajectory of Australia’s seagrasses. We will then explore the concept of ‘blue carbon’ and how the blue carbon function of seagrasses can play an important role in mitigating global climate change, through their exceptional capacity to sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Paul Lavery is the Professor of Marine Ecology at Edith Cowan University, and Director of the university’s Centre for Marine Ecosystem Research. For more than 30 years he has undertaken research on benthic marine ecosystems, particularly seagrasses, with a particular emphasis on understanding how these ecosystems respond to human pressures, and applying that knowledge to better manage them. He contributed to the re-writing of Australia’s national water quality guidelines, established the State’s first seagrass monitoring programme and assisted in developing the first State Environmental Protection Policy for the marine environment. For much of the past decade Paul’s research has examined the role that seagrasses play in removing carbon dioxide from our atmosphere, thereby helping to mitigate against global climate change. His research has contributed to the development of blue carbon mitigation practices and policy in the development National and regional governments in Australia, Spain and SE Asia.