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Seagrasses

In the 1980s, seagrasses restored at the mouth of the Negril South River showed high survival rates for all three species in the trial. Twenty acres of seagrass were apparently replanted in Long Bay, however 84% died after hurricane Sandy. On eroded beaches elsewhere in Jamaica, turtle grass (Thalassia testudinum), the dominant species in the Caribbean, was more tolerant to erosion than shoal grass (Halodule wrightii) and manatee grass (Syringodium filiforme), thus the better choice for beach settlement. Turtle grass withstands environmental stress yet can take quite some time to establish and is ideally planted in combination with pioneer species such as shoal and manatee grasses. For large-scale interventions, sowing is easier and more cost efficient than transplanting plugs or turions and does not mangle donor beds. Because of the high cost and poor success of seagrass plantations, priority is given to natural expansion. However, the elongated recovery period of transplanted seagrass beds, beyond the timespan of most projects, may have led to an overestimation of failure

The seagrass beds off the coast of Negril are composed mostly of Thalassia testudinum (turtle grass)

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Turtle grass illustration

Photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

and Syringodium filiforme (manatee grass).

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Manatee grass illustration 

Photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The seagrass meadows in Negril link the coral reefs to the morass. The goal is restored corridors of seagrass running from the nearshore to the fringing reefs.

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