Thursday, January 08, 2015

Coastal BC Plants: Eelgrass

Eelgrass

Zostera marina is commonly known as eelgrass. Eelgrass is a perennial aquatic plant that lives along the ocean shoreline in cool northern waters. Rhizomes hold branching slender stems with flat thin leaves to the ocean floor in shallow, protected areas. Flowers and seeds distinguish it as an aquatic herb rather than a seaweed.

Eegrass provides an important intertidal habitat for fish and shellfish. Beds, also called eelgrass meadows, flourish in spring and summer, then die back in fall and winter. You often find huge mats washed up on shore, or floating in masses across the ocean surface.

An eelgrass study was conducted in 2003 in Okeover and Malaspina Inlets north of Powell River. The study discovered 40% of the shore had soft sediment or protected areas suitable for eelgrass. The remainder of the area had cliffs, steep boulders, or rocky beaches. Twenty-one sites with 32 beds were identified in the inlets. Because the area is important for oyster and clam production, it's important to keep it unpolluted and health.

Here's a YouTube video by Shaw's Oceancast TV.



The three minute segment highlights the importance of eelgrass to our oceans and environment. -- Margy

7 comments:

  1. Love the information you provide on the plants in this area. Thanks

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    1. Thanks JoAnn - I wanted to go down to the shore here in Bellingham to get more pictures, but just didn't make it. I think the video from Shaw TV in BC tells it better anyway. - Margy

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  2. Great info and images!

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  3. Fascinating plant.

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  4. I had not heard of eelgrass!

    ROG, ABCW

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  5. I do love your part of the world. I was thinking of your scenery when I did my Sunday Sketch, then I got a little crazy! See what you think! (ツ) from Cottage Country Ontario , ON!

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  6. I always wondered about ellgrass now I know more! Amazing how much we don't know as citizens of earth.

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