Estimation of symbiotic environments in seagrass bottom sediments for “blue carbon”

January 12, 2023

Visualizing a causal relationship in the symbiotic bacterial group associated with seagrass overgrowth

The collaborative research group, including the RIKEN CSRS, the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences, and Kitasato University, has found indices to assess growth characteristics of seagrasses (Zostera marina) overgrowing downstream of an onshore aquaculture facility for fish using machine learning, structure equation modeling, and causal inference.

Efficient methods to cultivate Zostera marina are being discussed globally because Zostera meadows are subject to “blue carbon” certification required for realizing the low-carbon society and are essential from the perspective of “blue resources”, which ensures biodiversity as a “cradle of the sea” where sea animal’s eggs and larvae are nurtured.

In this study, the researchers conducted multifaceted surveys on the coast near the onshore aquaculture facility in Saiki City, Oita, in southern Japan, through epidemiological geographical, biochemical, and physicochemical analyses. And they visualized the association network (assessment indices) of the symbiotic bacterial group (cable bacteria, photosynthetic bacteria, enteric bacteria) in the bottom sediment of Zostera marina overgrowing downstream of the aquaculture facility using machine learning, structure equationmodeling, and causal inference.

The results of this study would contribute to Goal 14 of the Sustainable Development Goals, “Life below Water,” leading to building a blue economy society.

Original article
Environmental Research doi:10.1016/j.envres.2022.115130
H. Miyamoto, N. Kawachi, A. Kurotani, S. Moriya, W. Suda, K. Suzuki, M. Matsuura, N. Tsuji, T. Nakaguma, C. Ishii, A. Tsuboi, C. Shindo, T. Kato, M. Udagawa, T. Satoh, S. Wada, H. Masuya, H. Miyamoto, H. Ohno; J. Kikuchi,
"Computational estimation of sediment symbiotic bacterial structures of seagrasses overgrowing downstream of onshore aquaculture".
Jun Kikuchi
Team Leader
Environmental Metabolic Analysis Research Team