Unconventional "scientists" to characterize one of the largest seagrass in the world in The Bahamas

09 November, 2022

On the 1st of November, was published the article "Tiger sharks support the characterization of the world’s largest seagrass ecosystem" (doi.org/10.1038/s41467-022-33926-1) in Nature Communication. This work represents a joint effort among Professor Carlos Duarte, "Beneath The Waves", a non-profit organization led by Austin Gallagher (CEO and lead author of the publication) and other collaborators and researchers form several institutions, to describe one of the world's largest seagrass meadows in The Bahamas. 

To achieve this goal, the ground-truthing efforts for seagrass mapping was expanded with the use of human observation and 7 mature Tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier) equipped with camera tag biologgers in The Bahamas.

Results revealed a consensus area of at least 66,000 km2 and up to 92,000 km2 of seagrass habitat across The Bahamas Banks. Seagrass meadows play an important role in supporting biological productivity, carbon sequestration, biodiversity and fishery resources. Hence, their conservation is critical to mitigate climate change. However, seagrass distribution and extent is still poorly understood. Large mobile fauna (e.g.; Tiger sharks) could become important contributors and collaborators in the future effort for seagrass conservation and monitoring. 


To read the publication