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Zostera marina

Preliminary Results

We are happy to provide some initial results from our ongoing survey here. Check back regularly as data continue to be submitted!

Data Submission

Please visit our Data Submission Portal to upload your completed data spreadsheets.


Seagrasses are essential coastal habitats that support diverse and productive food webs. However, identifying factors that structure seagrass food webs and drive the flow of energy within them remain a key frontier in a rapidly changing world.

We propose a collaborative survey coordinated by the Smithsonian Institution’s MarineGEO program as its 2019 Annual Research Campaign, and leveraging standardized approaches to characterize the rich flora and fauna of seagrass beds around the world. We will use these data to construct simple food webs, apply a novel framework to estimate energy fluxes among trophic levels, and associate these with hypothesized abiotic and biotic drivers, especially biodiversity.

The proposed work will lead to one or more peer-reviewed manuscripts (including all participants as co-authors, to be submitted within one year of completion of all fieldwork) that will strongly enhance and generalize our understanding of seagrass ecosystem dynamics.

How to Join

Email Jon Lefcheck with the subject line “MarineGEO Seagrass Food Webs” to indicate your participation, and to begin the onboarding process.


Smithsonian MarineGEO commits to provide:

  • coordination in the form of participant recruitment, planning fieldwork with each participant;
  • standardized protocols and templates;
  • data management; and
  • data synthesis, and lead writing of the publications.

Each partner commits to:

  • conducting the required field work;
  • processing the samples collected;
  • submitting the data in standard format to MarineGEO; and
  • contributing to data interpretation and manuscript preparation.

MarineGEO further commits to preparing the first manuscript for peer-reviewed publication, with all co-authors, within one year of completion of fieldwork, and to making all data publicly available to participants by March of next year.


See Seagrass Food Webs Proposal for more information on the approach and hypotheses.

See Seagrass Food Webs Methods above for more information on methods and required infrastructure.