Seagrass are flowering plants that grow entirely underwater

seagrass in the sanctuary

Despite their name, seagrass are actually not ‘grasses’ at all, as they do flower. Like land plants, seagrass produce oxygen. The depth at which seagrass are found is limited by water clarity, which determines the amount of light reaching the plant. Light is required for the plants to make food through photosynthesis.

Of the 60 species of seagrass found worldwide, seven grow in Florida waters. In the Florida Keys, turtle grass, manatee grass, and shoal grass are the most common types of seagrass.

An estimated 2.7 million acres of seagrass meadows grow along Florida's extensive coastline, protected bays and lagoons. Although seagrass occur throughout the coastal waters of Florida, they are most abundant from Tarpon Springs northward to Apalachee Bay. Seagrass also occur in protected bays and lagoons as well as along the continental shelf in the Gulf of Mexico.


Did You Know?

There are nearly 1.5 million acres of seagrass in Monroe County. Seven species of seagrass are found in Florida, with the most common being turtle grass, manatee grass, and shoal grass.