World Seagrass Conference & International Seagrass Biology Workshop
WSC2022 & ISBW14
Signs of Success    Annapolis, MD    7 - 12 August, 2022 The ISBW14 & WSC22 Planning Committees would like to thank everyone for an AMAZING week in Annapolis!! See you in Napoli, 2024!! 

Virtual Plenary on Global Seagrass Coordination

While The 2022 World Seagrass Conference &14th International Seagrass Biology Workshop is a 99% IN-PERSON event, we've planned one hybrid event that will include virtual and in-person participation - The Virtual Plenary on Global Seagrass Coordination. Global seagrass coordination is more feasible now than ever before and during this plenary - as well as throughout the rest of WSC22 & ISBW14 - we aim to highlight the many important things that are happening in the global seagrass community and opportunities for collaboration. This plenary will take place on Tuesday morning, 9 August, from 7:45-8:45 AM EDT. Invited presenters include Maria Potouroglou, Carmen B. de los Santos, and Rui Santos. World Seagrass Association President, Jessie Jarvis, will be the event facilitator. A light continental breakfast will be served in the Atrium for in-person attendees to enjoy during the plenary. Following presentations by Maria, Carmen, and Rui, Jessie will open the floor to both virtual and in-person questions.

Please register in advance* for this webinar-based plenary here:

*You do not have to be registered for WSC22 & ISBW14 to attend this free event.*


Dr. Maria Potouroglou is a biologist by background whose work has focused on understanding the effects of climate change on marine and coastal ecosystems. Maria started working with seagrasses in 2007- a passion that has carried over to every position she has held over the last 15 years. She has conducted both multidisciplinary research on seagrasses and capacity building activities in Europe, Asia, South-East Asia, the Middle East and Africa. In 2018, she established a regional project in West Africa, covering seven countries from Mauritania to Sierra Leone, including Cape Verde. In 2020, she led the first ever global seagrass report 'Out of the Blue: The Value of Seagrasses to the Environment and to People', initiated by the UN Environment Programme, acting as Editor-in-Chief and coordinating a collaborative effort of over 60 seagrass experts from academia, not-for-profit organisations and governmental agencies. Maria currently works for the Secretariat of the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy at the World Resources Institute. The Ocean Panel is the only ocean policy body led by serving world leaders with the authority to trigger, amplify and accelerate ocean action worldwide.

During this plenary, Maria will discuss ‘Out of the Blue: The Value of Seagrasses to the Environment and to People’ - a global synthesis report that was released in 2020 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) together with GRID-Arendal, UNEP’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) and the World Seagrass Association. The aim of ‘Out of the Blue’ was to generate increased interest in seagrasses by policymakers, helping to ensure a sustainable future for these essential but undervalued ecosystems. It provides a science-based synthesis of the numerous services linked to seagrasses and the associated risks in losing them in the age of climate change and ongoing global habitat loss and degradation. The report provides management and policy options at the local, regional and global levels, with the aim to share best practices and prevent further losses. It also highlights the opportunities that effective conservation measures, sustainable management, and successful restoration efforts for seagrass ecosystems can provide to governments in order to achieve their international environmental policy commitments, targets and objectives.

Carmen B. de los Santos is a Research Assistant at the Centre of Marine Sciences and Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of the Algarve in Faro, Portugal. She has 15 years of research experience in seagrass ecology, with a focus on ecosystem service provision, responses to environmental stress, trait-based ecology, as well as assessing seagrass trends of change. Her research purpose and motivation are to advance the ecological knowledge of seagrasses to support science-based management, promote their conservation, and inform national and international environmental policies. Through her research activities, Carmen has developed collaborative work with researchers in Europe, Australia, and Asia. Currently, she is co-coordinating the launch of the SeagrassTraitDB with the aim of applying the principles of trait-based ecology to seagrass science.

Rui Santos is an Associate Professor with habilitation at the University of the Algarve. He has over 30 years of academic experience teaching in the areas of Ecology, Ecophysiology and Marine Botany, at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in various universities. His research has focused on the role of coastal vegetation, algae, seagrass and salt marsh, on the functioning of ecosystems and on the goods and services they provide. His present broader interests focus on the effects of human impacts, including ocean acidification, temperature and eutrophication on the cycling of carbon (blue carbon) and nitrogen of coastal vegetated ecosystems, particularly seagrasses and calcareous algae. He has over 200 scientific publications and over 6200 citations, ( and extensive experience in scientific dissemination and extension activities in the form of public lectures, teacher training, news and programs in the media, and frequently contributes scientific information to the management and conservation of coastal ecosystems.

Together, Carmen and Rui Santos will present SeagrassTraitDB during the plenary, a global database of seagrass traits. SeagrassTraitDB has been developed to integrate seagrass trait data from around the world, based on datasets contributed by scientists, into a consistent format. The aim of SeagrassTraitDB is to integrate and make available global empirical seagrass trait data. They hope that this will contribute to understanding and predicting how the expression of functional diversity of seagrass individuals varies along environmental gradients and how this translates into higher levels of population and community structure and ecosystem functioning. The Steering Committee for SeagrassTraitDB is formed by Dr. Carmen B. de los Santos and Prof. Rui Santos along with bioinformatic researchers from (Portuguese distributed infrastructure for biological data and the Portuguese ELIXIR node).