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The Thames has an astonishing marine diversity

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The river Thames, which flows through London, is home to an unexpected selection of marine species that must be protected.

The Thames Estuary

The meeting point of the River Thames and the North Sea in southeastern Great Britain is known as the Thames Estuary. This narrow estuary, also called the Tideway, experiences strong tides. Its starting point is Teddington Lock and Weir in southwest London, located between Richmond Lock and Thames Ditton Island on Kingston Reach.  

Species

The Thames is known to have over 120 species of marine mammals, such as the European Eel, short-snouted Seahorse and many more. Alongside marine mammals, the Thames Estuary is renowned for its diverse and thriving bird population, including the Avocet, Black-tailed godwit, European white-fronted goose, Grey Plover, and Oystercatcher. 

Seagrass Meadows

Seagrass, the exclusive flowering plant capable of surviving in seawater, can be found gently swaying in shallow waters along coastlines worldwide. Seagrass can be found at the edges of the Thames estuary and plays a crucial role in marine ecosystems by providing food and shelter for a diverse range of animals, from seahorses to sharks. Unfortunately, a study by the Zoological Society of London reveals that the UK coastline has experienced a loss of at least 44% of its seagrass since 1936.

Conservation Efforts

Numerous strategies are in place to protect and revive the unique ecosystems and species in the Thames Estuary. This includes establishing Marine Protected Areas, restoring critical habitats, improving water quality, and engaging local communities in marine conservation efforts. 

Threats

The marine biodiversity in the Thames faces numerous risks that could lead to its disruption. These threats primarily consist of climate change, pollution from plastic and oil, and carbon pollution. 

Featured Image by JJ Jordan via Unsplash.

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