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Seagrass makes a comeback thanks to UVA researchers

Professor Karen McGlathery shows a sea scallop at a research site on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. The bivalves are returning with the seagrasses. 

A 20-year-plus effort to restore seagrasses to seaside bays on Virginia’s Eastern Shore is achieving success. The collaborative project between UVA environmental scientists and other research and conservation partners reintroduced eelgrasses where disease and hurricane damage had killed them off, resulting in the restoration of 9,000 acres of previously barren bay bottoms. A team led by environmental sciences professor Karen McGlathery, lead investigator of the Virginia Coast Reserve Long-Term Ecological Research Project, has seen better water quality and an increase of marine life, including fish and shellfish that depend on these undersea meadows.