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  • Writer's pictureMaarten van Rouveroy

Investigating the world's largest seagrass bank in the Indian Ocean

Updated: Jul 31, 2021

In March 2021, I joined the Greenpeace ship "Arctic Sunrise" for a scientific expedition to the Saya de Malha bank in the Indian Ocean. This short video provides a sneak peek into what we have been up to. A more in depth production is set to follow.

The Saya de Malha area - located in the international waters between the Seychelles and Mauritius - is home to the largest seagrass bed in the world. Not many people have taken a proper underwater look at this unique ecosystem of vast seagrass meadows which is also hugely important for the global climate. Seagrass stores more than twice the amount of carbon per square kilometre than a forest does on land. At the same time, we are losing a football pitch of seagrass every 30 seconds to human activities. Protecting these remaining areas of seagrass is of crucial importance for marine biodiversity and to safeguard the global climate.

In addition to studying the seagrass meadows, we also surveyed the area for its biodiversity at the surface. The team gathered unique and crucial data on cetaceans in the area. Of particular interest where the sperm whales, whose behaviour was monitored from the area through drones, at the surface through visual surveys and underwater through the use of hydrophones taking acoustic recordings.



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