Eelgrass (Zostera marina)



  • BC: Yellow (Secure)
  • COSEWIC: Not Ranked
  • SARA: Not Ranked
  • Global: G5 (Secure)
  • Galiano Island Status: 44 observations around Galiano Island


Eelgrass (Zostera marina) is a marine perennial flowering plant, one of 60 seagrass species globally. Eelgrass can be identified by often vibrant green 3-foot long, ¼ inch wide blades, anchored to silty, sandy, and gravelly substrate on the sea floor by rhizomes (roots). It looks like tall grass growing under water; yet, despite its name, eelgrass is not a grass, nor is it a seaweed, as many that encounter it assume. 


Found in brackish (semi-salty) and saltwater coastal areas, from the lower intertidal down to a 6m depth. 


Global distribution


Humans increase local sediment levels through construction or coastal development causing eelgrass to struggle to photosynthesize through the murkier waters. Additionally, development in coastal regions may in some cases result in the displacement of eelgrass habitat, or cause harm through dredging and vessel-driven turbidity increases. Eelgrass is also particularly susceptible to damage through trampling and dragging of boat anchors, as well as pollution.

Photo Credit

hunterefs, Brian Starzomski

Comments are closed.