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Seagrass
Introduction | Identification | Impacts | Causes | Actions | More Info

Introduction
Have you ever looked beyond the beautiful coral reefs and seen the fields of seagrass surrounding the reefs? They may be less colorful and dynamic, but reefs are dependent on seagrass areas for their health. Seagrasses are found in coastal waters of both temperate and tropical climates. The depths at which seagrasses are found is limited by water clarity and the amount of light that is available to them. Seagrass beds provide feeding and nursery habitat for a multitude of fish, shellfish, crustaceans, and birds. Though some animals like manatees, dugongs, and sea turtles actually eat seagrasses, the major nutrient source that seagrass beds provide occurs when they die, decompose, and release their nutrients into the water. Seagrass beds also stabilize the sandy and soft-bottom areas they inhabit, preventing erosion and slow-down the movement of water so that sediments settle out, thus decreasing turbidity.
Shallow back reef with the seagrass, Thalassia, on sand and rubble patches. Negros, Apo Island, Philippines (D. Knop)
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