Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sea Grass

Sea grass adaptations include:
Complex root structure to anchor plant in the sediment, and extract nutrients and minerals
Photosynthesis restricted to cells in leaves
Transport minerals and nutrients in aerenchyma and the lacunae (veins)
Reproduction via flowers, fruits and seeds

Sea grass provides food and shelter for many organisms, and is a nursery ground for commercially important prawn and fish species. The high primary production rates of sea grasses are closely linked to the high production rates of associated fisheries. These plants support numerous herbivore- and detritivore-based food chains, and are considered very productive pastures of the sea. The associated economic values of sea grass meadows are very large, although not always easy to quantify.

Sea grasses on reef flats and near estuaries are also nutrient sinks, buffering or filtering nutrient and chemical inputs to the marine environment. They also stabilize coastal sediments.

Marine travelers are large animals that cruise the sea grass beds in search of food, but only stay for short periods of time. This includes dolphins, whales, sharks, manatees, and sea turtles.

Marine residents live in the sea grass all their lives. This includes crustaceans and epiphytes .

Migrants are animals that use the sea grass as a nursery and then move into open water once they mature. This includes a multitude of fish.

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