Researchers have found that the soil and roots of seagrass in Georgia salt marshes feature helpful bacteria that aids in the production of nutrients.
The researchers found that these plentiful microbes, associated with spartina cordgrass, aid in processing the organic matter in the sediment to release nutrients that the plant consumes. It is thought that the new knowledge will help in the efforts to restore some of Georgia’s salt marshes.
According to the study’s corresponding author Joel Kostka:
“So coastal ecosystem restoration has become a huge field, with an important goal to manage or restore marshes so that they continue to provide critical ecosystem services to people.”
“The next chapter of this story is to learn how the plant and bacteria exchange nitrogen and the environmental controls of that exchange. We also know these bacteria can fix carbon, and could potentially be passing carbon to the plant. The plant may have a cell factory that’s making biomass from chemical energy rather than photosynthesis. The work is another example of how we are uncovering plant microbiomes — the microbes that live inside or on the tissues of environmentally relevant plants that help the plants to grow better. If we can add microbes to the roots when we plant them, and therefore increase the survival of those plants, we can improve restoration efforts.”
You can find out more here, or check out a video about the research below.