Beach wrack

Maria Martins, Filipa Sousa, Cristiano Soares, Bruno Sousa, Ruth Pereira, Marcos Rubal, Fernanda Fidalgo

The equilibrium of the marine ecosystem is currently threatened by several constraints, among which climate change and anthropogenic activities stand out. Indeed, these factors favour the growth of macroalgae, which sometimes end up stranded on the beaches at the end of their life cycle, forming what is known as beach wrack. Despite its undeniable important ecological role on beaches, as it is an important source of organic matter (OM), and provides food and habitat for several invertebrates, reptiles, small mammals, and shorebirds, the overaccumulation of beach wrack is often associated with the release of greenhouse gases, negatively impacting tourist activities, and generating economic expenses for its removal. Although currently beach wrack is mainly treated as a waste, it can be used for numerous potential applications in distinct areas. This review aimed at providing a solid point of view regarding the process of wrack formation, its spatiotemporal location, as well as its importance and risks. It also contains the current advances of the research regarding sustainable alternatives to valorise this organic biomass, that range from bioenergy production to the incorporation of wrack in agricultural soils, considering a circular economy concept. Although there are some concerns regarding wrack utilisation, from its variable availability to a possible soil contamination with salts and other contaminants, this review comprises the overall beneficial effects of the incorporation of this residue particularly in the organic agricultural model, strengthening the conversion of this wasted biomass into a valuable resource.

Department für Funktionelle und Evolutionäre Ökologie
Externe Organisation(en)
Universidade do Porto, Universidade do Minho
Journal of Environmental Management
ÖFOS 2012
106005 Bioinformatik
ASJC Scopus Sachgebiete
Waste Management and Disposal, Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law, Environmental engineering
Sustainable Development Goals
SDG 14 – Leben unter Wasser, SDG 8 – Menschenwürdige Arbeit und Wirtschaftswachstum, SDG 13 – Maßnahmen zum Klimaschutz, SDG 12 – Nachhaltige/r Konsum und Produktion
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