Sarah Werner

Carbon-Hotspots in the Baltic Sea

How seagrass can help to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere

Oceans are among the largest carbon stores on our planet. An important factor are marine plants such as seagrass meadows, mangrove forests and salt marshes, which sequester carbon in the soil. In the German Baltic Sea, for example, seagrass meadows currently store around 3 to 12 megatons. This is significantly more than was previously known, as the first results from Dr. Angela Stevenson from GEOMAR Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel show.

Seagrass meadows and other marine plants store carbon very efficiently and thus make an important contribution to reducing carbon dioxide emissions. In the "SeaStore" project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), GEOMAR is therefore developing techniques to restore and expand the habitats of seagrass meadows along the entire German Baltic Sea coast. On the coast of Schleswig-Holstein, for example, that would be an area of around 450 square kilometers that could be populated with seaweed.

“With the data from our project in the Helmholtz Climate Initiative, we can identify locations that could store a lot of carbon and specifically plant seagrass here,” says Stevenson. In the future, non-scientists could also participate in the protection of the meadows: “For example, we want to involve the many amateur divers in Germany to monitor the health of the newly restored seagrass meadows and help with seagrass planting – a kind of underwater community gardening."

Sarah Werner
Mail: sarah.werner@helmholtz-klima.de
Tel: 0151 567 498 26

About Helmholtz Climate Initiative

Helmholtz Climate Initiative researches systemic solutions for one of the greatest social challenge of our time: climate change. Scientists from 15 Helmholtz centers are jointly developing strategies to reduce emissions and adapt to unavoidable climatic impacts - with a focus on Germany: Cluster I "Mitigation - Netto-Zero-2050" is working on a roadmap that shows how Germany could reduce its carbon dioxide emissions to net zero by 2050. Cluster II "Adaptation" researches adaptation options in areas of life that are affected by climate change, such as health, agriculture, energy supply or transport. Helmholtz Climate Initiative makes scientifically based knowledge available to many areas of society and enters into a dialogue with those responsible from politics, business and the media as well as the interested public.

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