They are an ancient species of flowering plants that grow submerged in all of the world’s oceans. Seagrasses link offshore coral reefs with coastal mangrove forests. Today, these “prairies of the sea,” along with mangroves, are on the decline globally. Scientists fear the diminishing vegetation could result in an ecosystem collapse from the bottom of the food chain all the way to the top.
Known as “hotspots of biodiversity,” seagrasses and mangroves attract and support a variety of marine life. However, worldwide damage and removal of these plants continue at a rapid pace. Changing Seas travels along Florida’s coastline to get a better understanding of the significant roles mangroves and seagrass play within the state. Can biologists prevent a negative ripple-effect throughout the marine food web before it’s too late? How will rising sea levels impact these plants as well at the communities that depend on them?