Danovaro, Roberto et al. “Multiple declines and recoveries of Adriatic seagrass meadows over forty years of investigation"

Danovaro, Roberto, Ettore Nepote, Marco Lo Martire, Laura Carugati, Zaira Da Ros, Fabrizio Torsani, Antonio Dell’Anno, and Cinzia Corinaldesi. “Multiple Declines and Recoveries of Adriatic Seagrass Meadows over Forty Years of Investigation.” Marine Pollution Bulletin 161 (2020). doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2020.111804.


This paper investigated the long-term changes (from 1973 to 2013) of the seagrass meadows of Zostera marina, Zostera noltei and Cymodocea nodosa in the Adriatic Sea subjected to multiple pressures. We examined the changes of the meadows by means of field data collection, observations and analysis of aerial photography to identify the most important drivers of habitat loss. The major decline of seagrass extension observed from 1973 to 1989, was primarily driven by urban development, and by the increase of the blue tourism. From 1989 to 2007 seagrass habitats progressively recovered due to the decrease of urbanization, but from 2007 to 2013 a further significant loss of seagrass meadows was apparently driven by thermal anomalies coupled with an increasing anthropogenic pressure. Our long-term analysis provides evidence that the rates of seagrass loss are faster than the recovery rates (i.e., −4.5 loss rate vs +2.5% recovery rate per year).