Plants Get Sick Too: Monitoring Seagrass Wasting Disease in a Changing Climate

March 19, 2024

Serina Moheed, Ph.D. Candidate at the University of California, Davis and a Dr. Nancy Foster Scholar

With climate change, disease outbreaks are increasing in our ocean and it's crucial to understand how they are affecting foundationally important marine species such as seagrasses. Seagrass meadows provide habitat for an extraordinary number of different organisms, can protect coastlines against storms, and have the ability to store harmful greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere into the soil. Tomales Bay estuary in northern California holds an estimated 9% of the state's seagrass population, and while disease is present in the area, not much is known about if there are different pathogen strains within seagrass meadows. Join Serina Moheed as she talks about how she monitors seagrass wasting disease in the field (spoiler- it's muddy!) methods for analyzing the effects of the disease, and how in her opinion growing a marine pathogen in the lab can be much harder than taking care of a houseplant.