Neptune grass (Posidonia oceanica) exists only in the Mediterranean Sea and is an ancient ecosystem. One of the largest organisms on earth, single clones have been found that are over 100,000 years old. It has been strictly protected internationally for many years, highlighting its importance in the marine ecosystem. It’s crucial functions include:
- Water oxygenation through photosynthesis.
- Absorbing carbon dioxide from water, thus reducing global warming and ocean acidification.
- Stabilising the seabed and preventing coastal erosion.
- Providing a habitat for many species.
Posidonia meadows have regressed by 34% in the past fifty years due to coastal development, trawling, intensive mooring and climate change. Although there has been some success in allowing it to re-grow, the rate of decline is significantly higher.
What we do
In partnership with Octopus Foundation, we are monitoring the abundance of Posidonia oceanica by measuring changes in area cover using aerial imagery and mapping. This is supplemented by in-situ observation by our divers. Public awareness is central to our efforts and we are working to provide information to boaters on safe anchoring practices that do not cause damage.
KOSAMARE is carrying out research with local meadows of Posidonia oceanic to determine the effect of recreational anchoring. Our study, taking place throughout 2021, will allow us to allocate areas of priority for conservation efforts in the near future. Methods to reduce the effect of anchoring have been adopted in other parts of the Mediterranean, including the installation of permanent ‘eco-moorings’ that prevent the need for boats to use damaging anchors whilst still allowing boaters to access our beautiful coasts.
Together with teams of volunteers, our survey work is taking place in several bays in the north of Kefalonia. We are diving in these bays to take accurate measurements of the areas covered by Posidonia, as well as measuring parameters such as density of shoots and length of leaves. These give us an indication of the overall health of the ecosystem, which is complemented by surveys of fish populations. This approach recognises the interconnectedness of the ecosystem, with fish and other species relying in the health and abundance of Posidonia.
What you can do
Share information on the current situation and the importance of protecting Posidonia meadows.
If you are a boater :
1. Face the wind before you start to anchor.
2. When weighing anchor, follow the ascent of the chain by slowly advancing towards the anchor so that you are directly above it when it lifts off the bottom.
3. Avoid dragging your anchor at any time.
4. Do not move your boat while the anchor is still at the bottom.
5. AVOID ANCHORING IN POSIDONIA SEAGRASS