Can Seagrass Beds Modulate Seawater Carbonate Chemistry?

Research Conducted as a BOAR Lab Manager (2016-2018)

Do seagrasses modify local carbonate chemistry?

Seagrasses are critical habitats in coastal and estuarine ecosystems. They provide nursery habitat for numerous ecologically and commerically important species and have the capacity to sequester carbon. Additionally, through photosynthesis and respiration, seagrasses are capabale of changing the pH of the water around them to an extent that may buffer the effects of ocean acidification.


Ricart, A., Ward, M., Hill, T., Sanford, E., Kroeker, K., Takeshita, Y., Merolla, S., Shukla, P., Ninokawa, A., Elsmore, K., Gaylord, B. 2021. Coast-wide evidence of low pH amelioration by seagrass ecosystems. Global Change Biology

In The Media

  • Seagrass offsets acidification | Science: Editor's Choice
  • Seagrasses Can Help Decrease Ocean Acidity: UC Davis Study | Jefferson Public Radio
  • Underwater meadows of California seagrass found to reverse symptom of climate change | San Francisco Chronicle
  • Seagrass Meadows Turn Back the Clock on Ocean Acidification – Can Reduce Local Acidity by Up to 30% | Sci Tech Daily
  • Seagrasses turn back the clock on ocean acidification | EurekAlert!
  • New Study Shows Seagrasses Buffer Ocean Acidification | Audubon Society
  • Scientists Find Underwater Plants Can Combat Ocean Acidification | Forbes Science
  • Seagrass Forests Counteract Ocean Acidification | Scientific American
  • Researchers in Newport optimistic that eelgrass can reduce carbon and acidity in seawater | Los Angeles Times
  • Some seagrasses work harder than others to slow climate change | Massive Science
  • Pradarias marinhas podem reverter acidificação do mar | Público (Portuguese)

  • How does fluctuating carbonate chemistry affect the growth of calcifying organisms?

    In many California estuaries, seagrasses directly abut oyster reefs and/or oyster aquaculture operations. So, this study explored whether different densities of seagrass, and therefore different degrees of modulated carbonate chemistry, influenced oyster growth.


    Ricart, A., Gaylord, B., Hill, T., Sigwart, J., Shukla, P., Ward, M., Sanford, E. 2021. Seagrass-driven changes in carbonate chemistry enhance oyster shell growth. Oecologia.