Door 17: Small flower but important plant

For today’s advent blog post, I would like to do something a little bit different. Continuing on the theme of biodiversity, climate and environment I would like to talk about a plant that is also a very important ecosystem in the sea: seagrass. I had the chance to get a picture of a seagrass flower shortlisted in Close-up Photographer of the Year (category Micro here), which is why I thought I could present a little something about it today.

Seagrasses are often confused with algae, simply because they are green and grow underwater, but they are in fact flowering plants. There are around 60 species of seagrasses worldwide. The most common in the northern hemisphere, including in Scandinavia, is Zostera marina. This species typically lives in shallow waters on muddy and sandy seafloor. They can create large underwater meadows that are the habitat of many species and a food source for many other. The flowers that you can see illustrating this post are small and emerge directly from a side of the leaf. They may be inconspicuous, but in my opinion they are also quite pretty and elegant.

Sadly seagrass meadows over the world are a particularly endangered ecosystem. They are threatened by climate change and various human activities such as trawling or mooring of leisure boats.

So, next time you take out your boat, be careful of where you anchor. And next time you go snorkeling or diving, keep an eye out for the seagrass meadows and don’t hesitate give them a closer look to find all the little critters that live there. And maybe you’ll even see some flowers!

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