Pawlik Lab announces “Sponges of the Caribbean: What Ecological Factors Most Affects Them” (video)

A video entry on our previous report showing the effect of predation in manipulative experiments on Conch Reef, Florida, received 4th place and an “honorable mention” in the NSF-sponsored Ocean 180 Video Challenge.  You can see the video at this link:



Joseph R. Pawlik, Professor,
Dept. of Biology and Marine Biology
UNCW Center for Marine Science
5600 Marvin K Moss Lane
Wilmington, NC  28409   USA<>; Office:(910)962-2377; Cell:(910)232-3579
************************************************************** Financing Sea Grass Restoration with Carbon Credits



Photo courtesy of Beau Williams of Seagrass Recovery.


Sea grass restoration helps halt erosion and arrest habitat loss. And sea grass meadows may also be one of best carbon investments around.

That suggests an economic model for seagrass restoration projects and a win-win for the oceans – by sequestering carbon, seagrass may slow ocean acidification.

The world’s seagrass meadows have declined significantly over the past century. Combined with mangrove forests, about one-third of the earlier global mass has been lost. Despite its efficiency in sequestering carbon, seagrass relies on slower clonal (versus sexual) reproduction.

In 2008, the Ocean Foundation began funding sea grass restoration projects around the US, mainly to repair damage caused by boats. Carbon sequestration was a secondary consideration for projects, behind erosion-control and habitat-protection.

The foundation found that seagrass, along with mangroves, take up considerable amounts of carbon. Indeed, scientists think that seagrass meadows take in and stores up to twice as much atmospheric carbon per acre than terrestrial forests.

So the foundation offers “Blue Carbon Offsets.” On the foundation’s SeaGrass Grow! website, donors can calculate their carbon footprint and sponsor seagrass planting as an offset. The offsets have raised about $80,000 so far.

For now, the program is voluntary, but the emergence of viable carbon markets in California and elsewhere creates the possibility of an income-generating, self-sustaining model. The foundation has partnered with Restore America’s Estuaries to certify aquatic vegetation carbon protocols, four for mangrove species and one for seagrass (eel grass).

Mark Spalding, president of the Ocean Foundation, says he expects to generate between $250,000 and $750,000 annually in the early years, as the market for such certificates develops. Certification in California is a year or two away, but once accepted, the protocols should meet the European criteria as well, he says.

“We really want to take this endeavor toward a paid offsets model,” Spalding says. “Right now carbon offsets are really associated with terrestrial forests, but the ocean is the number one carbon sink on the planet.”

Photo courtesy of Beau Williams of Seagrass Recovery.

Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series on Oceans and Sustainable Fisheries,  in association with SOCAP 13, the Social Capital Markets conference in San Francisco, Sept. 3-6. Impact IQ readers can get a 30% discount for SOCAP 13 by registering here.


About the author: Amanda Nagai

Amanda Nagai joined the Impact IQ/ImpactSpace team in 2013 as a writer and program manager. She has been an analyst and communications specialist for several government agencies, and has created original content for Fair Food Network, Brown Alumni Magazine, and other publications. With a particular interest in impact surrounding food production and distribution, she studied aquaponics at the University of the Virgin Islands, food system reform at the University of Vermont, and received her bachelors from Brown University.


Special thanks to Mark Spalding, President of The Ocean Foundation

Coral List: Coralwatch releases educational DVD series including Shifted Baselines

Dear Colleagues

CoralWatch recently released an education DVD series, adapted from our book, Coral Reefs and Climate Change.  This series incorporates 22 short videos (3-8 minutes), each focusing on a key aspect of oceanography, coral reef ecology, climate change science, and reef conservation. Animated diagrams, interviews with scientists and footage from around the globe help to communicate the latest science to diverse audiences.

We have just uploaded the episode on Shifted  Baselines to be freely available on youtube.

Feel free to share with colleagues or use this in your teaching activities.

If you would like to order the full DVD, or find out more about CoralWatch, please visit our website, or email


Dr Angela Dean I Project Manager (Monitoring & Research) – CoralWatch I The University of Queensland l Phone: +61 7 3365 3127 l Fax +61 7 3346 6301 l Email