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The Posidonia Oceanica
The biggest living organism in the world lives in Ibiza

(by Pablo Burgués)

If you have taken a walk along the beaches in Ibiza you’d have seen that in many of them there are a lot of strange hair meatballs. Contrary to what many children of the 80s may think, these are NOT Gremlins’ miscarriages, but mashes of vegetable fibres from Posidonia Oceanica. In the way the stones of a beach round off with the passing of time, the sea drags the scraps of this plant to the sand, where the action of tides creates their oval shape little by little.  

This said, I’ll tell you that though it lives in the water posidonia is not a seaweed, but a water plant. What does this mean? Well, it means that it cannot live deeper than 20-25 metres, because beyond that the sunbeams are not strong enough to feed it. This is one of the reasons why this species can only be found in the Mediterranean, where the depth and temperature conditions make this creature be at will. One example of this is the discovery, in 2006, of a posidonia plant of 8 kilometres in length, aged circa 100.000 years. This bête noire lives between Ibiza and Formentera and it’s considered as one of the biggest and oldest living organisms in the world (closely followed by the Queen of England).

However, the last studies developed by people wearing glasses explain that the posidonia prairies are dying at high speed, and they consider that unless urgent measures are taken they’ll disappear completely in the next 10 years.

The main reason for this quick extinction are the thousands of pleasure boats that along the summer season come to our coasts, with anchors (some of them with more than 200 kilos in weight) that work as real diggers that completely destroy and deforest the sea floor.

Maybe you’re thinking: “What the hell do I care if this weed dies?” Well, I’ll tell you that this plant is one of the biggest lungs for the absorption of CO2 in the world, which later it transforms into oxygen (that thing that you breath and that according to the experts is between “very” and “very very” necessary for the human being).

Moreover, this weed creates huge undergrowth mazes under the sea, where any kind of cephalopod molluscs, osteichthyes and decapoda crustacean may lay eggs in peace. Talking sense, these are huge nurseries for the future plates of Galician style octopus, squid rings fried in butter, grilled sea bass, salted goldfish or garlic shrimp you like so much.

For all this, in 1999 the posidonia prairies of the Pitiusan islands were declared World Heritage Site by Unesco within the section “Ibiza, biodiversity and culture”.

But if, in spite of all what I have told you, you still don’t care a shit about posidonia and you will throw your anchor wherever you feel like, I suggest you to go urgently to the doctor, guy, because there’s something wrong with you.

 

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Pablo Burgués on Instagram and Twitter

Translation: Dora Sales

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