3.2.2006 - Volunteer divers needed for data collection during 2006 research season.
We are gearing up for the 2006 season and plan to start monitoring the Posidonia seagrass this month. Although it is still early in the year, and the new growth will be minimal, it is the best time to find clingfishes, seahorses and the Posidonia pipefish which are so well camouflaged and hard to spot when the grass is in full bloom.
Posidonia is a true plant with roots, stem, leaves, flowers and fruits. However it is rare nowadays to find areas that receive sufficient protection for flowering to occur, e.g. a Natural Park near Formentera. At the base of each shrub is a rhizome, which is actually a modification of the stem, out of which grows roots of 10 to 15cms in length. These attach the plant to the substratum and the plant will continue to grow from the root system. In this way the meadow rises year upon year reaching heights of 4mtrs above the seabed. Natural breakwaters are thus formed. Posidonia leaves grow from the rhizome each about 1cm wide and up to 80cms long and their effect is to slow down wave movement and trap larger grains of sand. It is thanks to this natural filter that the water that reaches the shore is clearer and cleaner.
Strangely, the scientific name for this plant, Posidonia Oceanica, is not accurate. The plant is only found in the
and therefore not in any ocean. Posidonia lives in a narrow coastal strip at depths of up to 40mtrs although it has been found as deep as 100mtrs where the water is exceptionally clear and thus allowing light penetration for photosynthesis. The ecological importance of these meadows cannot be underestimated. The seasonality of the posidonia allows other ecosystems to be enriched by it`s great swathe of organic material that is carried by the currents and waves. Posidonia sea grass meadows serve as reproduction and refuge sanctuaries for numerous species. Such is the wealth of marine life to be found that all scuba divers should explore it`s rich diversity.
On our website I am building up a photo-library of species associated with the Posidonia meadows. I will upload some of the photos taken during our research and would particularly appreciate help in identifying species.
We have a large area to monitor annually in a beautiful local bay. Please come and learn about the diversity and behaviour of Mediterranean species whilst helping to conserve this wonderful habitat.