Eelgrass beds once flourished in the Yellow Sea ecoregion, an area along China’s northeastern coast that includes the Bohai and Yellow seas. This indispensable inshore ecosystem provides indispensable habitat for hundreds of species of invertebrates and fish, efficiently capture and store carbon dioxide, improve water quality, and help protect coastal communities by reducing wave intensity and shoreline erosion.

Over the past 30 years, however, eelgrass beds have declined as a result of human activities, including coastal reclamation, unsustainable fishing and aquaculture, and pollution.

In 2015, China’s largest eelgrass bed, spanning nearly 50 square kilometers, was discovered in the Bohai Sea. Yet six years later, this habitat, known as the Bohai Bay eelgrass bed (BBEB), still has no legal protection status or systematic conservation plan despite facing various threats.

Wang Songlin and his team at Qingdao Marine Conservation Society will study the BBEB’s ecological and socioeconomic benefits, as well as its vulnerability to local stressors, to provide a scientific foundation for effective management of this ecologically rich marine habitat. Songlin will also work with local fishers, who rely on the BBEB for subsistence, to develop and promote eelgrass-friendly fishing practices.

Watch his session from the 2021 Global Biodiversity Festival to learn more about this ecologically rich marine habitat.

The 2021 Global Biodiversity Festival was a 3-day virtual event celebrating the weird and the wonderful, the challenges life faces and some good news conservation stories. We will be sharing highlights from the festival with our community members.  Who was your favorite speaker? Add a comment below and we’ll feature their video in a future post.

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