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Common eelgrass

The common eelgrass is a plant, not a seaweed, and like other plants it has roots, stem, leaves, flowers and fruits.

The common eelgrass prefers the cool waters of the North Atlantic and North Pacific. It even grows in the Arctic region, enduring several months of ice cover per year. It is one of the most common types of seagrass found in Northern Ireland.

Seagrass beds are one of the most productive ecosystems and support a wide range of flora and fauna, including snails, jellyfish, hydroids and various different algae. They also provide a nursery ground for fish and crustaceans, as well as helping to stabilise sediment and prevent erosion. The population of common eelgrass is affected by coastal development, contamination, and mechanical damage from trawling, dredging and scallop and mussel harvesting in some areas. The light-bellied brent goose subsists almost entirely of this plant.

This is a perennial species that shows a seasonal change in leaf growth, the long leaves found in summer are replaced by shorter, slow growing leaves in winter. The plant flowers in spring / early summer.

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Common eelgrass

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