Though relatively inconspicuous to most visitors (with notable exceptions; i.e. "mung"), marine plants and algae play a vital ecological role. Seagrass communities are unique marine ecosystems found close to shore in intertidal and subtidal zones, usually occurring in relatively shallow water. Seagrass beds provide a variety of important functions such as the filtering of nutrients and pollutants, and the stabilization of sediments in marine systems. These communities also serve as nurseries and habitat for a variety of commercially and ecologically important species. Terrestrial algae found in the sandy soils of the dunes prevent erosion and dessication, two factors that contribute to the natural succession of these systems.
Last updated: January 31, 2018