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Flowering plants (Angiosperms) 250,000 species. Most are land plants (trees, flowers, shrubs, grasses etc) 250,000 species. Most are land plants (trees,

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Presentation on theme: "Flowering plants (Angiosperms) 250,000 species. Most are land plants (trees, flowers, shrubs, grasses etc) 250,000 species. Most are land plants (trees,"— Presentation transcript:

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2 Flowering plants (Angiosperms) 250,000 species. Most are land plants (trees, flowers, shrubs, grasses etc) 250,000 species. Most are land plants (trees, flowers, shrubs, grasses etc) Only three groups are adapted to life in coastal areas either totally or partially submerged: Only three groups are adapted to life in coastal areas either totally or partially submerged: –Seagrasses –Mangroves –Salt-marsh plants

3 Seagrass bed Salt-marsh Mangroves

4 What are seagrasses? Seagrasses are not true grasses Seagrasses are not true grasses Seagrasses are found totally submerged in shallow coastal waters Seagrasses are found totally submerged in shallow coastal waters Seagrasses provide important habitat for marine organisms Seagrasses provide important habitat for marine organisms 55 different species of seagrasses worldwide 55 different species of seagrasses worldwide 7 species off the coast of Florida 7 species off the coast of Florida

5 Seagrass communities provide habitat for a variety of marine animals. Some animals feed directly on the plants while others feed on the variety of organisms that live on and among the seagrass Large predators also visit the seagrass beds in search of prey

6 Classification of Seagrasses Kingdom PLANTAE Kingdom PLANTAE –Vascular Plants Subclass Monocotyldoneae Subclass Monocotyldoneae Family Potamogtonaceae Family Hydrocharitaceae Manatee grass Turtle grass

7 Seagrasses have stems (rhizomes) which spread horizontally under the sediment. Seagrasses have stems (rhizomes) which spread horizontally under the sediment. Leaves and roots grow from the rhizomes and anchor the plant Leaves and roots grow from the rhizomes and anchor the plant Flowers are small and inconspicuous Flowers are small and inconspicuous Pollen often released in thread-like strands and transported by the water Pollen often released in thread-like strands and transported by the water

8 Examples of Seagrass species Turtle Grass (Thalassia testudinum) Turtle Grass (Thalassia testudinum) –Most common in Florida and Bahamas –Flat, ribbon-like blades with blunt tips –Blades up to 14 inches long and ½ inch wide

9 Turtle Grass (continued) Turtle grass typically occurs from low tide level to a depth of 10m (33ft) Turtle grass typically occurs from low tide level to a depth of 10m (33ft) Typically found on sandy or rubble-covered bottoms Typically found on sandy or rubble-covered bottoms Name refers to green sea turtles that often graze on large fields of Thalassia Name refers to green sea turtles that often graze on large fields of Thalassia

10 Manatee Grass (Syringodium filiforme) Second most common seagrass in Florida and Bahamas Second most common seagrass in Florida and Bahamas Blades up to 20 inches long and cylindrical Blades up to 20 inches long and cylindrical Roots barely below the substrate Roots barely below the substrate Favorite food of manatee Favorite food of manatee

11 Star Grass (Halophila engelmanni) Found on sandy or muddy bottoms up to 130 ft deep Found on sandy or muddy bottoms up to 130 ft deep Leaves in star-like whorl Leaves in star-like whorl blades have distinct midribs and veins and fine tooth edges blades have distinct midribs and veins and fine tooth edges

12 Eel Grass (Zostera marina) Most widely distributed Most widely distributed Found in shallow, well protected bays and estuaries of cooler North Atlantic and Pacific Found in shallow, well protected bays and estuaries of cooler North Atlantic and Pacific

13 Zonation and Distribution Zonation determined by: Zonation determined by: –Salinity –Light –Air exposure

14 55 species worldwide Over half of these off Australia The most extensive seagrass community in the world is off South Florida

15 Seagrasses provide: Sediment stabilization Sediment stabilization Water Clarity Water Clarity Productivity and Shelter Productivity and Shelter

16 Seagrasses stabilize sediments and prevent erosion Seagrasses stabilize sediments and prevent erosion Seagrasses take up dissolved nutrients and trap sediments resulting in high water clarity Seagrasses take up dissolved nutrients and trap sediments resulting in high water clarity The leaves cut down on wave action and decrease turbulence causing fine sediment to be deposited The leaves cut down on wave action and decrease turbulence causing fine sediment to be deposited

17 Productivity Seagrass areas are the most productive communities in the ocean Seagrass areas are the most productive communities in the ocean Herbivores – feed directly on the seagrass Herbivores – feed directly on the seagrass Infauna – organisms that live in the sediment of the seagrass area Infauna – organisms that live in the sediment of the seagrass area Epiphytes – organisms that live on the blades of the seagrass Epiphytes – organisms that live on the blades of the seagrass Epifauna (epibethic organisms)-organisms that live on the surface of the bottom sediments Epifauna (epibethic organisms)-organisms that live on the surface of the bottom sediments

18 Sea anemone in the turtle grass Epiphyte on the turtle grass

19 Queen Conchs in Turtle grass

20 Sea urchin epifauna Sea cucumber epifauna

21 Lobsters hiding in the seagrass

22 Seagrass beds provide nursery areas and feeding grounds for many species of reef fish


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