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  Plant loss puts sea life in peril
Updated 15 October 2003, 13.17
A dugong - one of the creatures under threat
Entire species of sea creatures could be wiped out if we fail to stop a vital marine plant from being eroded, scientists have warned.

Many creatures - from manatees to sea horses - need seagrass to survive.

A report by the United Nations shows that 15% of the world's seagrasses have disappeared in the past 10 years.

Seagrasses grow in shallow waters, where boats are often moored. The chains from buoys and the boats' anchors are destroying the plants.

A seagrass meadow

Damage

Seagrass also benefits human beings.

It shields the land from storms - stopping our coastline being eroded and damage being caused to our homes.

Seagrass is the only marine plant with roots and flowers.

Sea horses are under threat

Rainforest

It grows in long meadows and is home to loads of creatures, including fish, dugongs and green turtles.

The plant is so important that scientists have described it as a "rainforest under the sea".

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