Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association

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Ecosystem based protection of the coastal zone: the effectiveness of seagrass meadows in coastal erosion management

A. Basic Facts
   i. Project Partners

Department of Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Technology (DASFT), University of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) (Lead Institution); Aquatic Ecology, Department of Biology, Lund University (Sweden); Department of Biological Sciences, Eduardo Mondlane University (Mozambique);
Institute of Marine Sciences, University of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) & World Maritime University -Malmö (Sweden)

   ii. Project Duration 2018 - 2021
   iii. Project Site(s)
   iv. Project Country Mozambique and Tanzania
   v. Budget USD 329 995
B. Project Objectives

This trans-disciplinary project will study how to strengthen the coastal resilience against coastal erosion by combining terrestrial and marine ecosystem-based protection. It aims to identify and evaluate ecosystem services provided by seagrass meadows for humans and improved biodiversity in Western Indian Ocean.

Specific objectives of the project are:

  • Investigate stakeholder and citizen needs and perceptions of coastal erosion and the ecosystem services provided by ecosystem-based protection measures.
  • Inventory of seagrass meadows along the coast of Mainland Tanzania, Zanzibar and Mozambique.
  • Evaluate secondary effects on biodiversity from the interplay between the shallow coastal zone and the terrestrial environment.
  • Examine how seagrass meadows influence coastal protection and biodiversity.
  • Build numerical models to simulate the physical impact of ecosystem based coastal protection.
  • Investigate best practise for seagrass restoration.
C. Expected Results
  1. Policy briefs to be used by decision makers and other stakeholders in the development or review of management policies and specific evidence-based guidelines to seagrass management.
  2. Technical guidelines on best practices on how to transplant and restore seagrasses in areas where they have disappeared.
  3. Production of empirical and numerical models to simulate the physical impact of ecosystem-based coastal protection.
  4. Provide capacity building (Two PhD students).
D. Project Activities
  • To identify the needs of relevant stakeholder groups and capture public perceptions and experiences on coastal erosion and the cultural ecosystem services provided by ecosystem-based protection measures
  • To conduct an inventory survey of seagrass meadows along the coast of Tanzania, Zanzibar and Mozambique
  • To link land and sea to identify additional ecosystem services as a response to ecosystem-based protection measures
  • Identify natural locations with and without seagrass meadows and contrast the locations to study how seagrass influence sediment movement, water currents and biodiversity
  • Morphological impact of different ecosystem based coastal protection measures is evaluated with the CS-model and tested against field data
  • To resolve and develop technical guidelines for seagrass restoration in a tropical environment
E. Publications
F. Students Supported by the Project

i) Marcelina Mushi (PhD-student) – Assessment of the Effectiveness of Seagrass Meadows on Shoreline Protection along the Coast of Tanzania and Mozambique Using Numerical Modelling and Socio-Economic Research Tools

ii) Manuela Amone (PhD-student) – Seagrasses in Mozambique: status, restoration and how meadows influence coastal protection and biodiversity

iii) January Wegoro (MSc. student) – Assessing the Performance and Effectiveness of Different Seagrass Restoration Techniques along the Coast of Tanzania

iv) Maria Cuambe (MSc. student) – Testing of seagrass restoration using two standard methods (rod/sediment-free and sod): Case of Cymodocea serrulata in Maputo Bay

G. For more information, either visit or contact:

Dr Blandina Lugendo; email: blandina_lugendo@yahoo.co.uk