PLANT ME a new project to restore seagrass meadows
In the last decades, seagrass meadows have been disappearing all over the world. To recover these ecosystems through the development of a new planting technique, the Centre of Marine Sciences of Algarve (CCMAR) collaborates with the University of Ghent and the companies Jan De Nul and DEME in the new research project "PLANT ME".
Seagrass meadows have been disappearing worldwide due to plant diseases, poor water quality, climate change and coastal erosion. These ecosystems are of high importance for shallow marine coastlines because they provide habitat for a wide diversity of marine fauna and flora and capture more CO2 than rainforests. “Seagrass is one of the most important breeding habitats in the ocean, providing shelter for juvenile fishes and securing the bottom it is growing ion. Within PLANT ME we want to contribute to saving this valuable marine ecosystem through researching novel grow-out and planting techniques”, explains Emile Lemey of the Jan De Nul group.
Through this new research project - "PLANT ME" - the team of researchers and hydraulic engineers intends to recover the seagrass meadows, developing a new planting technique for seagrass. The great advantage of this method is that it is cheap to produce. The project is part of a new research trend focused on innovative solutions nature-based to protect coasts sustainably and efficiently. The elements provided by nature are used in an innovative, sustainable and resilient way to protect the natural habitat. “This project and its unique collaboration between science and industry to develop new large-scale applicable sustainable techniques for seagrass restoration will contribute strongly to the required future restoration of seagrass meadows and coastal marine biodiversity”, says our researcher Aschwin Engelen.
The PLANT ME project is one of a series of projects that encourages industry to innovate and search for future-proof and sustainable solutions for a better world. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are a valuable reference framework for this. With 'PLANT ME', the research team contributes to a set of objectives that focuses on climate and biodiversity.