Biodiv Sci ›› 2024, Vol. 32 ›› Issue (2): 23201.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2023201

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Status, threats and conservation suggestions on seagrass beds in Guangdong

Zhong Chao(), Liao Yaqin(), Liu Weijie(), Sui Haozhi(), Chen Qinghua*()()   

  1. South China Institute of Environmental Science, Ministry of Ecological Environment, Guangzhou 510530
  • Received:2023-06-15 Accepted:2023-11-14 Online:2024-02-20 Published:2023-11-21
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Background & Aims Seagrass beds rank among the earth’s most valuable ecosystems, providing extensive ecosystem services to human. Despite their global significance, seagrass beds in the world, particularly in China, face threats from human activities, leading to their degradation. While recent studies in Guangdong Province have increasingly elucidated the distribution characteristics of seagrass beds and threats from multiple sources, a systematic summary of these findings remains limited. Given the anticipated continued pressure of high intensity human activities in the future period of time along the Guangdong coast, a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by seagrass beds in crucial from formulating targeted conservation suggestions aimed at effectively preserving their biodiversity.

Review results In this work, we comprehensively reviewed research results on Guangdong seagrass beds since the 21st century and summarized the information on their distribution of seagrass beds. Through a combination of field investigations and domestic and international research, we identified to Guangdong seagrass beds. The results showed that seagrass was widely distributed along the Guangdong coast, covering an area of 1,540 ha and comprising five species. Halophila ovalis and H. beccarii were both dominant species, while Zostera japonica, Halodule uninervis, Ruppia brevipedunculata had more limited distribution. This paper illustrated the impact of both human and natural factors on growth and distribution of seagrass, and pointed out that human activities such as mariculture, fishing, land-based pollution, marine engineering as primary threats. Moreover, the study acknowledged the significance of species invasion and global climate change.

Perspectives Aiming at threats mentioned above, we proposed conservation suggestions that building upon established protection measures. These recommendations include strengthening scientific research on seagrass bed ecosystem, improving the ability of survey and surveillance on seagrass, establishing a regulatory system for protecting seagrass, managing and controlling pollutant emissions, reinforcing ecological restoration of seagrass beds, and launching popular science activities and awareness campaigns.

Key words: Guangdong, seagrass bed, threats from human activities, conservation status, conservation suggestions