Ivajnšič et al. Evaluating Seagrass Meadow Dynamics by Integrating Field-Based and Remote Sensing Techniques

Ivajnšič, Danijel, Martina Orlando-Bonaca, Daša Donša, Veno Jaša Grujić, Domen Trkov, Borut Mavrič, and Lovrenc Lipej. 2022. “Evaluating Seagrass Meadow Dynamics by Integrating Field-Based and Remote Sensing Techniques.” Plants 11(9):1196. doi: 10.3390/plants11091196.

Marine phanerogams are considered biological sentinels or indicators since any modification
in seagrass meadow distribution and coverage signals negative changes in the marine
environment. In recent decades, seagrass meadows have undergone global losses at accelerating
rates, and almost one-third of their coverage has disappeared globally. This study focused on the dynamics of seagrass meadows in the northern Adriatic Sea, which is one of the most anthropogenically affected areas in the Mediterranean Sea. Seagrass distribution data and remote sensing products were utilized to identify the stable and dynamic parts of the seagrass ecosystem. Different seagrass species
could not be distinguished with the Sentinel-2 (BOA) satellite image. However, results revealed a
generally stable seagrass meadow (283.5 Ha) but, on the other hand, a stochastic behavior in seagrass meadow retraction (90.8 Ha) linked to local environmental processes associated with anthropogenic activities or climate change. If systemized, this proposed approach to monitoring seagrass meadow dynamics could be developed as a spatial decision support system for the entire Mediterranean basin. Such a tool could serve as a key element for decision makers in marine protected areas and would potentially support more effective conservation and management actions in these highly productive and important environments.