How do Seagrasses Modify their Sedimentary Environment?
Seagrasses are known as ecosystem engineers because they modify their physical surroundings. In these two projects, we study the function of intertidal estuarine meadows in accreting sediment and storing carbon.
Sediment accretion is caused when seagrass shoots buffer water movement and in doing so, cause a build-up of sediment held together by the seagrass root system. In effect, these plants build new land. At the same time, they store carbon in plant biomass and sediment, leading to a reduction in carbon that would otherwise contribute to climate warming if released to the atmosphere.
Intertidal seagrass meadows are often the target site for coastal land reclamation projects. This study will contribute to an understanding of what we will lose when these ecosystem engineers are removed, and will allow policy makers to make informed decisions in landuse planning.
This project is a part of Asilah Awang's and Siti Noor Adibah's Master of Technology research. Asilah Awang's study on sedimentation in seagrass meadows is supervised by Ghufran Redzwan, Jillian Ooi, and Affendi Yang Amri. Siti Noor Adibah's study on carbon storage in seagrass meadows is supervised by Rozainah Zakaria and Jillian Ooi.
“The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant,
'What good is it?'
If the land mechanism as a whole is good, then every part is good,
whether we understand it or not.”
- Aldo Leopold, in Round River: From the Journals of Aldo Leopold