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Marine Ecology

Audubon in Richardson Bayfrom: Audubon - Richardson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

Eelgrass, Zostera marina L, is the most widely occurring marine angiosperm in world, growing throughout the west and east coast of the United Sates, Canada and along the coast of Baja California. Eelgrass habitat acts as a protective nursery ground for finfish and shellfish, as an important food source for waterbirds, and as protection to coastal areas against shoreline erosion.

Eelgrass in Richardson Bay

Eelgrass is a true plant (not a seaweed) that grows submerged or partially floating in the marine environment. Eelgrass reproduces through rhizome growth and seed germination. Eelgrass grows on muddy and sandy bottoms in the shallow subtidal environment. Eelgrass beds grow rapidly in the spring and summer, then decay in the fall and winter. Dead eelgrass blades often wash up on the beach where their decay adds crucial nutrients to coastal environments.

Full Article: All About Eelgrass


Nantucket Harbor - Nantucket, MANantucket Harbor - Nantucket, MA

by Dr. Sarah D. Oktay
Managing Director UMass Boston Nantucket Field Station

There is probably no single plant more important to our harbor ecosystem than eelgrass. We have relatively healthy beds of eelgrass in both harbors and in shallow areas around the island and the islands of Tuckernuck and Muskeget. The protection of eelgrass habitat is critical in order to have a viable bay scallop fishery. Eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) is a subtidal marine angiosperm (flowering plant), or "seagrass," that grows in temperate waters, often forming extensive underwater meadows. It is not seaweed, but actually an underwater submerged grass that flowers and primarily spreads via rhizomes or roots.

Full Article: No Eelgrass, No Scallops


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