A comparative study of Seagrasses Species in Regional Seas and QMZ
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Seagrasses are flowering monocot green plants that have adapted to marine life, and remain completely immersed in seawater and are primary producers of food for numerous marine animals. Seagrasses are of worldwide distribution and it was earlier estimated that there are approximately 60-72 known species of seagrasses. It is now evident that the number of seagrasses species is almost 200, comprising 25 genera and 5 families, namely Cymodoceaceae, Hydrocharitaceae, Posidoniaceae, Zosteraceae and Ruppiaceae, covering a global area of 300,000-600,000 km2. It is also estimated that they have declined in area by 29%. The Western Indo-Pacific realm encompasses 13 species in two families; the Cymodoceacae with 4 genera and the Hydrocharitaceae with 3 genera. Twelve species extend into the Red Sea, 4 occur in the Arabian/Persian Gulf and 4 in the Arabian Sea. The total area of Qatar marine zone (EEZ) is approximately 35,000km2 and three species of seagrasses are known to occur in this zone. These are Halophila stipulacea, Halophila ovalis and Halodule uninervisis, the most common one. It is established that seagrasses consolidate and stabilize bottom sediments, create and maintain good water quality (clarity), produce oxygen, provide food, nursery ground for many animals and have been proven to be very important in GHG emissions.