NatureVolve

The 5 rea­sons why we all need healthy sea­grass habi­tats

- Biology · Animals · Zoology · Science · Ecology · Wildlife · United Kingdom

1. Sea­grass is a flow­er­ing plant

Just like plants on land, sea­grass has roots, makes seeds and needs light to grow. This makes sea­grass dif­fer­ent to sea­weeds (al­gae) be­cause they have no roots, re­ly­ing in­stead on a hold­fast, a hand-like grip­ping struc­ture, to pro­vide a strong an­chor to the seafloor. This makes sea­grass the only flow­er­ing plant to be found in the Ocean.

2. Sea­grass grows around the world

Sea­grass grows in both cool wa­ter and in the trop­ics. In the UK, we have four species of this su­per plant, two of which are found in the Ocean. Zostera ma­rina and Zostera noltii are both species of Ocean-grow­ing sea­grass known as eel­grass. World­wide, there are over 70 species of sea­grass, found in a va­ri­ety of coastal lo­ca­tions. Glob­ally, they sup­port an enor­mous ar­ray of life, in­clud­ing ju­ve­nile sharks and rays, as well as tur­tles and man­a­tees, which sur­vive by eat­ing the sea­grass.

3. Sea­grass pro­vides a shel­tered habi­tat

Sea­grass is a nurs­ery for ju­ve­nile fish. It also sup­ports an enor­mous amount of in­ver­te­brate life as well as har­bour­ing rare species such as stalked jel­ly­fish and sea­horses. This is of enor­mous im­por­tance to the fish­ing in­dus­try be­cause the fish which spend their ju­ve­nile years in this nurs­ery will be­come the adult fish our fish­er­men catch and de­liver to our ta­bles.

4. Sea­grass is a nat­u­ral coastal de­fence

Sea­grass takes en­ergy out of the waves ap­proach­ing our shores, pro­tect­ing coasts from ero­sion. When habi­tats like sea­grass are re­moved, waves can be­come more de­struc­tive, wash­ing away our coast­lines. With­out the sea­grass roots, the sed­i­ment can also wash away un­der the sea, af­fect­ing the an­i­mals which live there

5. Sea­grass stores car­bon

This amazing plant stores car­bon in the sed­i­ment which sur­rounds its roots. This abil­ity has huge po­ten­tial for help­ing the fight against cli­mate change. In fact, the amount of car­bon stor­age abil­ity could ri­val that of the rain­forests.

Be­low: Ocean Con­ser­va­tion Trust (OCT) logo. © Ocean Con­ser­va­tion Trust. All Rights Re­served.

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