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Eelgrass is a flowering plant that grows in the ocean, brackish water environments.
Most types of eelgrass are perennials. They usually have long leaves or narrow and thin blades, growing towards the sun from the seafloor.
Eelgrass grows in the oceans, shallow bays, estuaries, and brackish water environments. It is an actual flowering plant, unlike algae or seaweed! It belongs to the family Zosteraceae and has several species like dwarf eelgrass (Z. noltei), common eelgrass (Zostera marina), or Japanese eelgrass (Zostera japonica). Eelgrass usually grows on muddy bottoms at depths between 50 ft (15 m) down to about 200 ft (60 m). The leaves are long with 'blades' up to 27.55 in (70 cm) wide. Eelgrasses play an important role for marine life by acting as shelter places for many water animals like Dungeness crabs and young fish that hide under its blades to avoid predators. Surf grass is one type of aquatic plant that is considered eelgrass.
Eelgrass is not just like any other aquatic plant, it has unique features, and facts about eelgrass will interest you. Here are some of the facts about eelgrass:
Eelgrass grows in unusual and irregular clumps, and these eelgrass patches are called eelgrass beds.
Eelgrass beds can be grown by seed germination or vegetative growth!
Eelgrass also plays an important role in the marine food web.
It is a primary food source for many animals, including eels, clams, and oysters.
In fact, eelgrass beds are often called 'oyster farms' because they provide such a critical habitat and feeding ground for oysters.
Eelgrass beds help stabilize sediment on the ocean floor, which can help reduce erosion.
Eelgrass takes away carbon dioxide, which helps to reduce global warming.
It also filters water by removing pollutants like nitrogen and phosphorus from the environment!
Its roots hold together mudflats, so they don't get washed away during storms or high tides. This helps improve water quality and clarity.
Eelgrass is edible! It can be eaten raw or cooked with a mild flavor and a slightly crunchy texture.
Eelgrass has thick rhizomes that are white covered with plenty of roots and nodules.
These rhizomes work well together in storing energy and nutrients.
These nutrients are very important for developing flowers and leaves during the summer and spring seasons.
European settlers first documented eelgrass in the 1600s when they found it growing on the seafloor beds.
During earlier times, people used to take the eelgrass from the places where they grew, dry them, and then use them as roof coverings for their homes.
Dried eelgrass was also used for insulation purposes by many people.
Eelgrass can be used as bait when fishing in areas where eels are common.
The eelgrass plant gets its name from its long, blade-like leaves, which resemble the eel's tail.
They can have different colors from greenish-yellow through browns or even black when they're dead!
Sea birds like seagulls, whopper swans, and brent geese also eat from eelgrass meadows.
There are many other types of aquatic plants that are considered eelgrass.
Surf Grass, which is another aquatic plant, is also considered eelgrass.
Some fish do lay eggs in eelgrass, but not all of them.
Many people do not know the importance of this plant and its role in the environment.
This is why there has been a considerable level of degradation of eelgrass beds in many places.
Mostly, this degradation comes from human impacts like pollution, dredging, and urban development.
For an underwater plant, eelgrass has a lot of benefits.
Eelgrass has been around for millions of years.
Fossil evidence indicates that eelgrass first appeared on earth during the Jurassic period.
Some of the most common egg-laying fish include sea bass, pompano, sheepshead, and tilapia.
Eelgrass is a plant that grows in or near water environments, specifically soft seafloor environments, estuaries, coral reefs, and shallow bays.
Eelgrass and eelgrass beds are a type of flowering seagrass.
They are found predominantly in the temperate zones of the world.
Eelgrass habitat can be found from Australia to Alaska, in the coasts of California, Florida, and the coastal territories of Asia and Europe!
How deep eelgrass grows depends on the amount of light available and the clarity of the water.
Temperature and salinity also affect eelgrass health.
Some species of eelgrass have also been found along the shorelines of the Arctic and Antarctica.
Eelgrass is an important part of the marine ecosystem, and it plays a vital role in the health of our oceans.
Many marine biologists and scientists have discovered that eelgrass beds serve as nurseries for a diverse range of marine creatures.
Most animals cannot eat eelgrass plants since their digestive systems are unable to process the cellulose obtained from eelgrass.
However, eelgrass is highly nutritious and is a rich source of nutrients in the aquatic food web.
It's also an important habitat for marine creatures such as mussels and oysters.
Apart from aiding in the health of the marine environment, an eelgrass bed also provides food and shelter to several aquatic creatures.
Some animals and sea creatures that feed on eelgrass are waterfowl like seagulls and geese, sea urchins, sea snails, lobsters, shrimp, scallops, jellyfish, sea anemones, flounders, and crabs.
Different seagrass plants and species and eelgrass beds are also essential food sources.
Eels tend not to take over an eelgrass bed because they prefer sandy bottoms rather than grassy ones.
There aren't many predators around either, making eelgrass one of the safest places for eels to live!
They are food sources for dugongs, manatees, and green turtles.
Believe it or not, an underwater eelgrass bed is very prone to various threats posed by humans! Eelgrass is often seen as a form of algae or seaweed, but this is not true. Eelgrass is an independent aquatic plant or species in itself.
The habitats of eelgrass beds are among the most biologically diverse and productive ecosystems you can find on the planet.
These habitats contain many elements and materials that are believed to support the lives of diverse organisms.
Eelgrass is also used to make paper, roof thatchings, and insulation. It has been used for this purpose since the 1800s.
Eelgrass paper is still being manufactured today!
The biological diversity of an eelgrass bed is very similar to that of tropical rainforests.
The long leaves of an eelgrass bed can grow just fine underwater as well as out of it.
The flowers of eelgrass beds are monoecious, meaning that the flowers portray underwater pollination!
Eelgrass can live for up to five years, although these flowering plants are typically harvested after only two or three years.
One acre of eelgrass can filter as much water per day as a typical septic system.
The eelgrass must then be replanted to grow again.
Eelgrass is unique among seagrasses because it does not have roots. Instead, eelgrass anchors itself to the substrate by using small rhizomes.
This adaptation allows eelgrass to grow in areas that other seagrasses cannot live!
The leaves of an eelgrass bed or plant are ribbon-shaped, highly resembling those of wild celery!
The eelgrasses themselves can grow up about 3 ft (91.4 cm) tall when submerged underwater but only half that size on dry land due to the lack of nutrients and sunlight needed by these plants.
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