Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



FROTH AND BUBBLE
Underwater seagrass beds dial back polluted seawater
by Staff Writers
Ithaca NY (SPX) Feb 17, 2017


Seagrass meadow near Spermonde Archipelago, Indonesia. Image courtesy Joleah Lamb.

Seagrass meadows - bountiful underwater gardens that nestle close to shore and are the most common coastal ecosystem on Earth - can reduce bacterial exposure for corals, other sea creatures and humans, according to new research published in Science Feb. 16.

"The seagrass appear to combat bacteria, and this is the first research to assess whether that coastal ecosystem can alleviate disease associated with marine organisms," said lead author Joleah Lamb of Cornell University's Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, where she is a Nature Conservancy NatureNet fellow.

Senior author Drew Harvell, Cornell University professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and an Atkinson Center Fellow, had been running an international workshop and examining the health of underwater corals with colleagues near small islands at Spermonde Archipelago, Indonesia. But after a few days, the entire research team fell ill with dysentery, and one scientist contracted typhoid. "I experienced firsthand how threats to both human health and coral health were linked," Harvell said.

Lamb returned with an international team armed to test the waters. On these small islands freshwater is sparse, surface soil is thin and just off shore the marine environment teems with solid waste, sewage and wastewater pollution. Generally, the islands - though filled with people - do not have septic systems.

The group used Enterococcus assays, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standard of health risk levels for wastewater pollution in recreational waters, to see whether seagrass meadows influenced bacterial levels. Water samples taken near the beaches exceeded exposure levels by a factor of 10. But, Lamb's team found threefold lower levels of Enterococcus in seawater collected from within seagrass meadows.

"The genetic sequencing work pinpointed the kinds of bacteria - all in difficult, arduous conditions," said Harvell. "It showed exactly what was in the water. The beautiful oceanside water looked blue-green, but truly it was filled with dangerous pollution - some really bad stuff in the water close to shore."

While research is beginning to reveal the mechanisms driving bacterial-load reductions in these ecosystems, it is evident that an intact seagrass ecosystem - home to filter-feeders like bivalves, sponges, tunicates (marine invertebrates) - removes more bacteria from water.

As seagrass meadows and coral reefs are usually linked habitats, Lamb's team examined more than 8,000 reef-building corals for disease. The researchers found lower levels - by twofold - of disease on reefs with adjacent seagrass beds than on reefs without nearby grasses. "Millions of people rely on healthy coral reefs for food, income and cultural value," said Lamb.

Harvell, Lamb and their colleagues agree that these findings are key to conserving seagrass ecosystems. "Global loss of seagrass meadows is about 7 percent each year since 1990," said Lamb. "Hopefully this research will provide a clear message about the benefits of seagrasses for human and marine health that will resonate globally."

Regions around the world promote aquaculture to help feed populations, as diseases for many ocean-dwelling plants and animals increase, Harvell said, "Our goal is to stop measuring things dying and find solutions. Ecosystem services like seagrass meadow habitats are a solution to improve the health of people and the environment. Biodiversity is good for our health."


Comment on this article using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

.


Related Links
Cornell University
Our Polluted World and Cleaning It Up






Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
FROTH AND BUBBLE
Miners protest Philippine plan to cancel 75 contracts
Manila (AFP) Feb 15, 2017
Mining firms in the Philippines voiced outrage Wednesday over government plans to cancel nearly one quarter of the nation's contracts, plus a permit to exploit one of the world's largest known copper deposits. Environment Secretary Gina Lopez announced Tuesday she would cancel 75 of the nation's 311 mining contracts, as well as the environmental compliance certificate of the planned $5.9-bi ... read more


FROTH AND BUBBLE
DR Congo snubs calls for inquiry of massacre video

British Museum training Iraqi experts to save Mosul heritage

Drug shortages and malnutrition in Mosul

When Brazil ran 'concentration camps' during droughts

FROTH AND BUBBLE
Penn engineers overcome a hurdle in growing a revolutionary optical metamaterial

Scientists look to tick 'cement' as potential medical adhesive

Researchers engineer thubber a stretchable rubber that packs a thermal conductive punch

Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

FROTH AND BUBBLE
Small ponds have outsized impact on global warming: study

Cash-strapped Rio de Janeiro to privatize water utility

Basking sharks seek out winter sun

Oceans have lost 2 percent of oxygen, says study

FROTH AND BUBBLE
Descent into a Frozen Underworld

How an Ice Age paradox could inform sea level rise predictions

Sentinels warn of dangerous ice crack

Arctic cultures take climate fight to Berlin film fest

FROTH AND BUBBLE
Maize study finds genes that help crops adapt to change

Snap beans hard to grow in cover crop residue

Bee decline threatens US crop production

New idea to fight billion-dollar threat to soybean production

FROTH AND BUBBLE
Flooding hits Indonesian capital, one dead

Over time, nuisance flooding can cost more than extreme, infrequent events

Volcano Samalas mystery revealed

Researchers catch extreme waves with higher-resolution modeling

FROTH AND BUBBLE
A tonne of ivory, hacked into pieces, seized in Uganda

Civilians in the crossfire of Boko Haram and the military

Fresh delay for Mali interim authorities amid protests

DR Congo dubs video massacre fake, but admits "excesses"

FROTH AND BUBBLE
New evidence highlights maternal hierarchy of Pueblo Bonito

Flat-footed fighters

Advances in imaging could deepen knowledge of brain

Study: The human brain always has a backup plan




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement