Posidonia Oceanica — The Mediterrannean Lung — Mare Nostrum — Almeria
Along the Mediterranean Sea there is a key element preserving the ecosystems, contributing in protecting from coastal erosion, and regulating the CO2 absorption in the sea and in the atmosphere.
It is referred to as posidonia oceanica.
Also known as Neptune grass or Mediterranean tapeweed, its source of oxygen production has made it of great ecological importance and a key for the sustainability of the Mediterranean region.
Endemic to the Mediterranean, It covers about 3% of the basin, approximately 38000 km2. If you wonder, how much oxygen it is producing, 14 to 20 liters per square meter is the answer.
Overall, Posidonia Oceanica contributes to the ecological, environmental and social richness. It actively contributes to preserving natural resources and in promoting the biodiversity in the Mediterranean Sea.
Its importance has been recognised and its unique value has seen its preservation ensured by being included as a priority habitat in a EU decree.
Although it has a circum-Mediterranean distribution, you will find a more populated distribution of it on the eastern area of Andalusia, from Almeria to Malaga.
A series of ecological programmes are monitoring its state and helping preserve it from anthropogenic activity such as untreated sewage dump, sand extraction from seabeds, bottom trawling, yacht anchorage or climate change.
Posidonia is very sensitive to pollution and can only grow in clean unpolluted waters. It can be considered as an indicator species of the overall quality of the coastal waters. It also supports a wide variety of animal species that use posidonia for breeding, feeding and shelter.
The reason for the current series of programmes looking to preserve it and raise awareness is due to the current acceleration in its deterioration. Like many other species, the acceleration has been very visible in the last few decades, subsequently its importance has been underlined and a series of programmes for caring and restoring it are being supported by the EU.
The cities along the andalusian coast, such as Almeria, have been doing a lot to raise awareness about the importance of Posidonia Oceanica and along with other cities in Andalusia they are setting a great example for what can be done for its preservation.