As the world is facing a climate emergency enhancing long term carbon storage has never been more important.
Seagrass, which grows in large, lush underwater meadows, could be part of the solution with its ability to capture carbon from the atmosphere (up to 35 times faster than tropical rainforests).
However, after centuries of industrialisation and overexploitation many areas have been left barren. Once degraded, these former seagrass environments become a source rather than a sink for carbon.
Dr Richard Unsworth and researchers in the College of Science are developing methods that restore seagrass meadows at scale.
Working with a range of organisations including Project Seagrass, Sky Ocean Rescue and WWF, and collaborating with local communities and UK Government, the team are undertaking a large seagrass restoration project in the UK have starting with the planting of 2 hectare meadows.
The 2 hectares of seagrass are only the start. By building on progress made by scientists in the US, Richard and his team, along with their partners, are working on upscaling seagrass restoration methods - including enhancing automation and using sequencing to analyse and understand the microbial associations of seagrass.