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Marine Plants / Algae

Thalassia testudinum (Turtle grass) flower

Thalassia testudinum flower

Dr. Caroline Rogers

Seagrasses are true flowering plants that live underwater. They live in shallow, clear water, allowing enough light for them to photosynthesize, just like land plants. They spread primarily through the growth of roots and rhizomes, often forming large meadows in sandy or muddy substrate. These root systems help stabilize sediment and reduce shoreline erosion.

Boat anchors and propellers cause great damage to seagrass beds. Anchors can rip out the roots and gouge holes that undermine the surrounding root systems. The area "implodes," and it may take years for these areas to recover, if they recover at all.

Never Anchor in Seagrass or Coral

Did You Know?

Fruits from the Machineel tree that grows along the coastine on St. John.

The Machineel tree, found along the coast, produces crab apple-like fruit that is poisonous. While the fruit is deadly [as Columbus’ men reportedly found out in 1493 when visiting the island], even sap from the Machineel tree can cause an irritating skin rash. The tree is also called Death Apple.