Around the world, seagrass beds – shallow-water ecosystems that are important habitats, food sources, and sediment stabilizers – are in decline, says Frederick Short, research professor of natural resources and marine science at the University of New Hampshire. And as these underwater meadows disappear, so do commercially valuable shellfish and fish, waterfowl and other wildlife, water quality, and erosion prevention.
On the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Fred Short, UNH research professor of natural resources and marine science, retrieves marked plants for an assessment of seagrass productivity.
UNH professor Fred Short (right) training SeagrassNet team member Adrian Vernon in the seagrass bed near Placencia Village, Belize.
Short, who founded the global monitoring program SeagrassNet in 2001, has been studying eelgrass, a type of seagrass found in the Northern Atlantic, for more than 20 years. While he still conducts research at UNH’s Jackson Estuarine Laboratory on the Great Bay Estuary in Durham, he also collaborates with teams of researchers to monitor seagrass health at 45 sites in 17 countries worldwide.
From the Hudson Bay, where the Cree Nation enlisted him to transplant their diminishing eelgrass beds, to the Pacific Island of Palau, Short’s research has produced distressingly similar findings.
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