From small seeds, big eelgrass meadows grow

In celebration of National Marine Week starting tomorrow (25 July) Alderney Wildlife Trust’s Dr Mel Broadhurst-Allen tells us more about the eelgrass beds around the Channel Island of Alderney. Eelgrass is a fascinating, truly wondrous, yet, bizarre set of species. Despite growing in the shallows of our seas, taxonomically, they are terrestrial plants. As the name suggests, eelgrass appears as long, green blades of grass, poking out of sandy substrates, primarily in sheltered bays and inlets. Eelgrass can grow in small patches in the intertidal zone, but given the right conditions, can become large, dense beds or meadows in waters down to 5m of depth. Underneath the sands, eelgrasses have complex root systems, comprising of networks of rhizomes bound to the sand.