Sea grass beds ecosystem
Ecosystem Monitoring and Surveys
Unit：Ocean Conservation Administration
Sea grass is a general term for marine submerged monocotyledonous flowering plants, which have roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits, and seeds. Sea grass can use vascular bundles to transport gases and nutrients, while conducting sexual reproduction. Thus, sea grasses differ from seaweeds.
According to the categorization framework of Tomlinson (1982), sea grass can be divided into 4 families: the Hydrocharitaceae, Posidoniaceae, Cymodoceaceae, and Zosteraceae, with a total of 12 genera and 60 species.
In Taiwan ’s marine territory, Taiwan Island, the Pratas Island, and neighboring islands (Penghu, Xiaoliuqiu, Green Island, and Kinmen) all have sea grass distribution. Currently, Taiwan has 11 types of sea grass recorded, which accounts for 1/6 of the world ’s total (Ko, 2004; Lin et al., 2005). Sea grass types recorded in Taiwan include: Halophila beccarii, H. depcipiens, H. ovalis, Thalassia hemprichii, Cymodocea rotundata, C. serru lata, Syringodium isoetifolium, Thalassiodendron ciliatum, Halodule pinifolia, H. uninervis, and Zosterajaponica. Currently, many samples are being identified, waiting to be publis hed.
Sea grass beds are an important coastal ecosystem in shallow tropical and temperate marine areas across the globe. They have high productivity and biodiversity because they can pr ovide food (Lanyon et al., 1989; Lee et al., 2001), habitat, sanctuary (Fong et al., 2000; Hindell et al., 2000), and incubation places (Bell & Pollard, 1989) for many fish and shrimps, large vertebrates (such as sea turtles and sharks), and benthic invertebrates. Sea grass beds can also protect the coast by settling sil t, stabilizing the seabed, preventing coastal erosion, purifying water quality, and improving the visibility of the water. Because sea grass beds can resist waves and tides, they a re great natural barriers for protecting the coast, while serving an important ecological function and having economic value.
Issued by: Marine Wildlife Conservation Division