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Seagrass Roundup

December 22, 2006

Rainforests and coral reefs are poster children for environmental conservation. But seagrass beds are just as important.


Protecting gardens in the sea. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

They’re not as impressive as rainforests, or as colorful as coral reefs, but seagrass beds are critical habitats on sandy coasts. Baby fish and crustaceans hide from predators in the vast beds, and the grasses filter pollutants. In the journal Bioscience, researchers report that the seagrasses are in grave danger and not enough is being done to protect them. One reason, they say, is that while the media reports frequently on more glamorous ecosystems, seagrass beds are generally ignored.

In other environment news, scientists report in the journal PLOS Biology that labeling a species "endangered" can be the kiss of death. Animals and even plants on the list suddenly become coveted by collectors, who avidly hunt or capture the last remaining individuals.

I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.