Accelerating seagrass root growth to improve marine habitat restoration
Efforts to restore seagrass meadows have become increasingly common in recent years, as researchers and coastal communities recognize these marine plants’ importance for protecting shorelines, improving water quality, providing nursery grounds for fish and shellfish, and sequestering carbon. In Southeast Asia, a global hot spot of seagrass diversity, human activities have driven rapid losses of these habitats. Moreover, many restoration projects have failed because of problems with anchoring transplanted seagrasses to the seafloor to enable healthy root growth.
Jillian Ooi will combine field and experimental research to identify optimal conditions for promoting seagrass root growth in various marine environments and inform more effective seagrass restoration practices. Working with local coastal communities, Ooi will co-develop methods for effectively anchoring seagrass transplants, incorporating traditional ecological knowledge and accessible local materials such as bamboo and shells. She will also work with community members to develop a multimedia communications strategy that highlights seagrass ecosystems’ cultural and ecological importance.
To learn more about Ooi, read her bio.