Restoration of Seagrasses 

Restoration of Seagrasses 

This article covers “Daily Current Affairs” and the topic details “Restoration of Seagrasses”. The topic “Restoration of Seagrasses” has relevance in the “Ecology and Environment” section of the UPSC CSE exam.

For Prelims:

What are seagrasses? 

For Mains:

GS3: Biodiversity Conservation

Why in the news?

Citizen divers in Germany are restoring seagrass meadows in the Baltic Sea. 


SeaStore joint project

The SeaStore joint project aims to provide comprehensive guidelines for protecting and reintroducing seagrass meadows in the southern Baltic. These guidelines will assist government authorities and other stakeholders in assessing, planning, and successfully implementing reintroduction projects. The approach is unique for several reasons:

  • Thorough Research
  • Investigation of Overlooked Factors such as the diversity of microorganisms on seagrasses and the seafloor.
  • Growing Aid to help newly planted grasses withstand currents and wave action. This support allows small seedlings to grow rapidly into large, healthy seagrass meadows.


What is seagrass?

  • Seagrasses, which originated from land plants, are submerged plants resembling their terrestrial counterparts. 
  • They possess leaves, flowers, seeds, roots, and connective tissues, and they carry out photosynthesis to produce their own food. 
  • Unlike land plants, seagrasses lack strong stems for support, relying instead on the buoyancy of water around them.
  • Seagrasses are not true grasses. They are more closely related to terrestrial lilies and gingers than grasses.
  • They are found on all continents except Antarctica.
  • Seagrasses thrive along the coast in clear and shallow waters where sunlight can penetrate for photosynthesis. 
  • Under favourable conditions, seagrasses form dense underwater meadows, some of which are so vast that they can even be seen from space.

Significance of Seagrass

  • Diverse Habitat for Marine Wildlife
    • Seagrass meadows serve as vital habitats and food sources for a wide range of marine organisms. 
    • Various species, including fish, octopuses, sea turtles, shrimp, blue crabs, oysters, sponges, sea urchins, anemones, clams, and squid, thrive in these underwater ecosystems.
  •  “Lungs of the Sea”
    • A crucial aspect of seagrass meadows is their role as “the lungs of the sea.” Through photosynthesis, they release oxygen into the water, contributing significantly to the overall health of marine ecosystems.
  • Abundant Biomass Accumulation
    • Seagrass meadows exhibit extensive rhizome and root systems, leaf growth, and epiphytic growth, resulting in the accumulation of substantial biomass.
  • Filtration of Pollutants and Pathogens
    • Seagrass meadows, along with their associated microbiomes, act as natural filters for pollutants and pathogens present in seawater.
  • Impact on Global Warming
    • These meadows play a crucial role in mitigating global warming. 
    • By fixing large amounts of carbon dioxide, primarily in their roots, they make a significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gas levels.
  • Increasing Importance for Climate and Biodiversity Crisis
    • Given the ongoing climate and biodiversity crisis on our planet, the health and preservation of seagrass meadows are becoming increasingly crucial for environmental well-being.


Threats to Seagrass Meadows

  • Human Activities
    • Pollutants, such as chemicals and excessive nutrients from fertilizers, flow off the coast and accumulate in seagrass beds. 
      • This leads to harmful algal blooms that block sunlight and disrupt the delicate balance within the ecosystem. 
    • Sediments and dredging can physically damage and fragment seagrass meadows. 
    • Boat anchors and large marine debris can also inflict harm.
  • Overfishing
    • Overfishing sets off a chain reaction that disturbs the seagrass food web. The absence of certain fish, like sharks, causes an increase in intermediate predators that feed on invertebrates. 
    • This, in turn, reduces populations of helpful pollinators and other small creatures. 
    • An abundance of herbivorous fish can also lead to overgrazing of seagrass meadows.
  • Natural Causes
    • Cyclones, intensive grazing, fungal infestations, and diseases impact seagrass populations. 
    • Intertidal seagrasses are especially vulnerable to drying out, while estuaries can suffer from increased freshwater incursion and siltation.
  • Marine Heatwaves
    • These sudden spikes in sea temperature have been increasing in frequency and intensity. Such events can be devastating to seagrass meadows, especially since they cannot easily move to escape the extreme heat. 
    • Studies show that increased marine heatwaves are linked to reduced seagrass density.


Baltic Sea 

  • The Baltic Sea is a sea located in northern Europe, connecting with the North Sea and forming an arm of the Atlantic Ocean.
  • It receives the flow of various rivers, including the Vistula and Oder.
  • The Baltic Sea is surrounded by several countries, including Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, and Russia
  • It features two prominent arms known as the Gulf of Bothnia and the Gulf of Finland. 
  • Unlike some other seas, the Baltic Sea is not significantly influenced by the North Atlantic Current, leading to lower salinity levels, containing only about one-fourth as much salt as the oceans. 
  • Additionally, due to its lower salinity and cold temperatures, the sea tends to freeze relatively easily.


In Baltic Sea, citizen divers restore seagrass to fight climate change Indian Express, 27 July 2023, pg. 12, Delhi Edition 

Map: Britannica

plutus ias current affairs eng med 29th July 2023

Q1. With reference Seagrasses, consider the following statements: 

  1. Seagrasses possess leaves, flowers, and fruits, but they lack roots and connective tissues.
  2. Seagrasses rely on the buoyancy of water around them since they lack strong stems for support like land plants.
  3. Seagrasses thrive along the coast in clear and shallow waters where sunlight can penetrate for photosynthesis.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 3 only 

(d) None 

Answer: (c) 


Q2. The Baltic Sea is surrounded by how many of the following countries?

  • Norway 
  • Denmark
  • Sweden
  • Finland
  • Poland 
  • France

Select the correct code from the codes given below:

(a) Only three

(b) Only four

(c) Only five

(d) All six

Answer: (b)

Q3. What are seagrasses? Discuss the ecological significance of seagrass meadows and their role in supporting marine biodiversity. 

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