Establishing an Indo-Pacific Seagrass Network (IPSN) to assess linkages among marine biodiversity, ecosystem services and poverty

Time period: 2018-01-01 to 2020-12-31

Project leader: Lina Nordlund, Lina Mtwana Nordlund

Other personnel: Johan Eklöf, Leanne Cullen-Unsworth, Richard K.F. Unsworth

Funder: Swedish Research Council

Type of award: Research environment

Total fundning: 1 200 000 SEK

The purpose of this 3-year project is to initiate a collaborative Indo-Pacific Seagrass research Network (IPSN), aimed to build capacity and perform standardized, coupled social-ecological surveys of seagrass and associated fisheries across the Indo-Pacific. Seagrass beds are abundant marine plant assemblages in coastal areas, that are intensely fished especially by those men and women with the least resources. Seagrasses therefore constitute a key component for food security. Yet, there is still a low level of formal and scientific expertise on seagrasses in the Indo-Pacific. IPSN aims to help build this much-needed expertise, and thereby conserve seagrasses and increase the sustainability of seagrass resource use.The research to be conducted within IPSN will focus on: 1) ecological field surveys to better understand seagrass and associated fauna; 2) surveys of landed and marketed fish catches to better understand the contribution of seagrass small-scale fisheries; and 3) socio-economic household surveys to better understand the use of and dependence on seagrass-associated resources. The data will be analysed on a regional scale to statistically assess the linkages among marine biodiversity, ecosystem services and poverty, across gradients in environmental and socio-economic conditions in the Indo-Pacific. The findings will be used to advance seagrass science and provide management recommendations for poverty alleviation in one of the most data poor environments globally.