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The plants of Cabrillo National Monument inhabit two ecosystems: the coastal Mediterranean ecosystem on the peninsula and the marine ecosystem off the coast.
The coastal sage scrub habitat is not known for having strong winds, so plants are pollinated by animals. The seeds of some plants are easily caught in animals’ fur so a fox, coyote, rabbit, or mouse carries them to a new germination spot. The plants are also highly aromatic, but not visually vivid, so they can attract moths in the dark of night through the moth’s sense of smell rather than their vision. Not only does the aroma of the plant attract pollinators, but it also deters foragers. Animals that would otherwise eat some of these plants are averted by the strong odors they emit. The animals are further discouraged by some plants’ tough leaves and branches and other plants’ spines.
The marine habitat also contains numerous species of plants. These are non-vascular plants called algae, more commonly called seaweed. The seaweeds in the intertidal zone at CabrilloNational Monument are very important to the sea life. They provide food for most of the sea slugs, snails, and crabs, but - equally important - the plants also provide shelter for the animals. Most often the seaweeds are homes for juvenile animals. In the seaweeds, the young are protected from strong currents, crashing waves, and foraging predators. All this protection and plenty of food surround them.
COMMON NATIVE PLANTS
MARINE ALGAE (Seaweeds)
Did You Know?
Did you know that the Old Point Loma Lighthouse at Cabrillo National Monument was one of the first lighthouses on the West Coast?