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  • Christopher Stephens, MSc

Flowering Plants in the Ocean

Grass Grows at Sea & Grass is a Flowering Plant


Eelgrass growing on the coast of Vancouver Island, BC, Canada


The ocean and a prairie may seem worlds apart, but nature is a master of the exception. Ecological occurrences place plants and animals typically associated with certain environments in most unusual environments.


Take shorelines, for instance. While grasslands define dryer terrestrial environments and the ocean may seem like the realm of seaweed, there are in fact meadows under the sea. Globally, 60 species of seagrass occur, with 15 being known as eelgrass. There are no similarities between seagrasses and seaweeds. Seaweed is algae, seagrasses are flowering plants just like the sunflowers, roses and yes, lawn grasses you may find in local parks and gardens.


Providing invaluable habitat for a vast variety of marine life ranging from crustaceans and worms to fish and sea snails, sea grasses are cornerstones of biological diversity. Bird species such as Brant, which are migratory sea geese feed directly on eelgrass as well as the herring eggs which they often trap in large quantities.


Unfortunately, these grasses of the marine environment, which are flowering plants technically since grass is a flower category face significant human impacts. Trampling and pollution are among the threats to marine grass species and the singles species or mixed species meadows which these plants form.



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