Kelp and Eelgrass in Puget Sound
NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION SEATTLE WA PACIFIC MARINE ENVIRONMENTAL LABS
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Kelp, which are large brown seaweeds, attach to bedrock or cobbles in shallow waters, especially in areas with moderate to high waves or currents. Eelgrass, which is a flowering plant adapted to the marine environment, roots in sand or mud in shallow waters where waves and currents are not too severe. Both kelp and eelgrass need fairly high light levels to grow and reproduce, so they are found only in shallow waters of nearshore ecosystems. They provide variety of ecological functions, and are highly productive, annually producing large amounts of carbon that fuel nearshore food webs. Shellfish, such as crabs and bivalves, use eelgrass beds for habitat and nursery areas. Fishes such as juvenile salmonids use eelgrass beds as migratory corridors as they pass through Puget Sound the beds provide both protection from predators and abundant food.
- Physical and Dynamic Oceanography