Savannas of the sea: “Pristine seagrass meadows were often heavily grazed”

WUR press release:

Seagrasses are important for our coastal protection, biodiversity and carbon sequestration. But contrary to popular belief, dense, waving seagrass meadows with long foliage are not necessarily more natural. In a new publication in Nature Ecology & Evolution, researchers from Wageningen University & Research and Radboud University argue for a more nuanced picture of natural seagrass meadows being dense vegetation interspersed with areas grazed by sea turtles. This calls for a change in our nature management practices.

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The price turtles pay for your perfect vacation photo

Unregulated feeding of marine wildlife by tour operators impacts the natural behavior & well-being of sea #turtles. So proud that @FeeSmulders paper (w/ @CORE_Science3, Justin Campbell and myself) is now featured in @nytimes (read this here) photo @ShaneGrossPhoto. Also see the video abstract and WUR press release below.

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Can we improve coastal restoration by temporarily imitating nature? Yes we can!

Coastal ecosystems are in rapid decline around the world. Restoring them is very expensive and is often unsuccessful. But together with an international team of researchers we discovered a way of increasing restoration success of salt marshes and seagrass meadows, using biodegradable mats. Our findings are just published in Nature Communications (22 July 2020)

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Students investigating tropical marine ecosystems on Bonaire

This autumn 6 WUR students will spend some months in Bonaire to investigate different aspects tropical coastal ecosystems together with Fee and Luuk. Subjects range from impacts of surfers on sea turtles, to shark-turtle interactions, impact of sargassum on mangroves and corals, and bioturbation and seagrasses. Students also got introduced into the sea turtle monitoring protocols of Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire. And we went out to the reef for an underwater excursion. Great fun.

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Staff expedition to Bonaire

Last month our group – the Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management Group @ WUR – travelled to the Caribbean to analyse the socio-ecological-system of Bonaire. This happened in the same week that a report came out stating that the nature in the Dutch Caribbean is under heavy pressure, highlighting the need for a change in nature management and for additional research. So we went!

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Optimism for mitigation of climate warming impacts for sea turtles through nest shading and relocation

Our research published this week in Scientific Reports reported effective conservation strategies that can mitigate the impacts of climate warming on sea turtle nesting success, #oceanoptimism.

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