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Habitat quality assessment

Photo: Hans KautskyPhoto: Hans Kautsky/Azote

Seaweeds and seagrasses provide important habitats for crustaceans, molluscs, fish larvae, ephemere algae and many other organisms. The genetic variation of the habitat-forming species will affect habitat quality. For example, genetic diversity in seaweeds increases tolerance to physiological stress and grazing.

Populations of habitat-forming species may be adapted to their local environment and genetically distinct from other populations of the same species. Losing a local population of a habitat-forming species will affect the entire habitat in that area. Loss of genetic variation within a habitat-forming species will increase the vulnerability of the entire habitat and can also affect other species.

General recommendations

  • Genetic diversity of all habitat-forming species should be assessed.
  • Habitat-forming species under risk of pollution, climate change etc, should be monitored for genetic diversity on a regular basis.

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