CATALOGUE Among the Garbage and the Flowers - Flipbook - Page 13
Oxford Seascape Ecology Lab
We are the Oxford Seascape Ecology Lab, an interdisciplinary group based in the School of Geography and the
Environment working at the intersections of Ocean research, policy, and conservation.
Seascape ecology is the application of landscape ecology to marine environments to understand causes and
consequences of complex spatial patterns and ecological processes over space and time. This lens is particularly
critical to consider in the fluid, dynamic and three-dimensional system of a highly connected Ocean with
interdependent human societies. We use this approach to link place-based scientific research findings to inform
Ocean governance and to address complex social-ecological challenges.
We are mapping blue carbon habitats (e.g., seagrasses, salt marshes and mangroves) to help in estimating blue
carbon sequestration. Oxford Seascape Ecology Lab PI, Dr Lisa Wedding, is communicating these recent findings
about incorporation of blue carbon habitats into California’s sub-national climate policies (read more here). Also
found throughout the UK, these blue carbon habitats support local sustainable economies, community resilience
and food production, amongst many other benefits. Their restoration and conservation through multi-stakeholder
collaborations may facilitate progress towards global targets like the Sustainable Development Goals.
With the upcoming COP26 conference and current United Nations Decade of Ocean Science, it is an exciting time
to communicate the importance of marine and coastal habitats in creative ways. We are thrilled to be co-developing
innovative ways to stimulate engagement in our Oceans through the ABC Network and our partnership with artist
Jenny Lines, and to build art-science partnerships that we hope will continue beyond this programme.
Coastal ecosystems, namely seagrass, mangroves, and wetlands,
contribute to both climate mitigation measures and climate
adaptation measures. ‘Blue carbon’ is carbon which is captured
and stored in coastal ecosystems, and could be critical for reaching
net-zero emissions in the coming years. Time is running out for
including blue carbon habitats in negative emissions policy as
many coastal countries have already lost a significant proportion of
their blue carbon ecosystems; for example the United Kingdom has
lost 44% of its seagrass since 1936. Often overlooked, blue carbon
ecosystems can sequester carbon at rates nearly two orders of
magnitude greater than terrestrial forests per unit area.
Nonetheless, future higher global warming scenarios puts these
ecosystems at risk, and if disturbed, they will start emitting carbon
instead. It is therefore critical that they are protected in order to
maintain their carbon sequestration function and a variety of other
key ecosystem services.
Our artwork focusses on seagrass and wetland ecosystems.
Underappreciated yet incredibly valuable, these ecosystems offer
crucial ecosystem services such as fish nursery habitats, carbon
sequestration, nutrient cycling, and can reduce coastal erosion.
Around the UK, efforts are being made to restore seagrass
meadows by planting seagrass seeds in hessian bags in effort to
maintain valuable ecosystem services. Further afield in California
lies Elkhorn Slough: stretching seven miles inland from Monterey
Bay, this estuary provides habitat for a plethora of resident and
migratory birds, plants, marine mammals and fish. The Oxford
Seascape Ecology Lab and artist Jenny Lines have co-produced a
series of pieces to represent these incredible ecosystems. With the
aid of Jenny’s stunning prints, we hope to share the beauty and
importance of these habitats, in addition to the research
methodologies associated with understanding and restoring coastal
blue carbon ecosystems.