The world's seagrass species are faring better than most the world's vertebrate species that faces extinction, a University of New Hampshire researcher said.

“Some areas, including New Hampshire, are experiencing serious loss of seagrass distribution,” says Fred Short, UNH Professor of natural resources and director of the worldwide program SeagrassNet. "But that is different than experiencing loss of a given species, which is what the Red List process evaluates.”

He was among the 174 scientists who contributed to “The Impact of Conservation on the Status of the World’s Vertebrates,” released online this week in the journal Science.

The study found that nearly a fifth vertebrates reviewed were classified as threatened. It included three plant groups. According to Short, the same drivers that threatened vertebrates were also affecting seagrasses in the coastal regions.

“We’re polluting our oceans and coastal areas tremendously,” he says. “We are most certainly losing seagrass distribution, and at present 10 of the world’s 72 seagrass species are threatened. The trends are not encouraging.”