Coastal habitats are the first line of defense against sea-level rise and storms. At the same time, they are vulnerable to change, and can be pushed past tipping points and lost. A long-term, landscape-scale experiment with seagrass at Virginia Coast Reserve LTER is the first of its kind to show the role of restoration in reinstating ecosystem services, particularly ‘blue carbon’ sequestration. Fifteen years of data on recovery trajectories, thresholds, and resilience to high ocean temperatures provide novel insights that are integrated into predictive models of future change and inform management and policy.
Karen McGlathery, University of Virginia, Virginia Coast Reserve LTER