There’s a whole world of aquatic plant life waiting to be discovered in the Indian River Lagoon around 321 Boat in Melbourne, FL! From unique species of seagrass to vulnerable baby sea turtles, this aquatic vegetation is vital to the ecosystem. According to Florida State Parks, there over 2,100 unique plant species in the Indian River Lagoon alone. However, this incredible biodiversity doesn’t just protect the animal species of the lagoon; it’s also vitally important to our health and that of the planet, meaning that there are many reasons to protect the plants around 321 Boat.
So next time you’re out on the water, take a moment to appreciate the beautiful plant life that makes our waterways so special!
Common aquatic plant life of the Indian River Lagoon
Seagrasses (like Turtle Grass and Manatee Grass)
Did you know that seagrass meadows in the Indian River Lagoon are some of the most important habitats in the lagoon? For the sake of simplicity (and time), we won’t get into all the different varieties that inhabit the lagoon, but they all have unique features, habitats, and appearances. These seagrasses provide critical nursery habitat for juvenile fish, manatees, and seahorses. In fact, seagrass meadows are sometimes called the “lungs of the lagoon” because they produce so much oxygen! With their descriptive names, it’s easy to guess which animals you may find feeding on or hiding in these grasses.
Not only are seagrass meadows home to a variety of unique species, but they also help to stabilize sediments and protect shorelines from erosion. When seagrasses are disturbed or removed, it can cause major problems for the health of the lagoon.
Mangroves are another common aquatic plant in the Indian River Lagoon. These plants are actually a type of tree that is adapted to living in saltwater environments. Mangroves play an important role in the ecosystem by providing habitat for a variety of animals, stabilizing shorelines, and filtering pollutants from the water.
There are three different types of mangroves found in the Indian River Lagoon: red mangroves, black mangroves, and white mangroves. Each type of mangrove has a unique root system that helps to protect against erosion and storm surge. Mangroves are also an important food source for animals like fish, crabs, and birds.
While mangroves are an essential part of the ecosystem, they are also very sensitive to pollution and disturbance. Therefore, it’s important to avoid damaging these plants when you’re boating in the area so they can continue to play their cornerstone role for years to come.
Algae are a type of aquatic plant that is often mistaken for seaweed. There are actually many different types of algae, ranging from the green algae that you may see in your aquarium to the red algae that helps create beautiful coral reefs. Algae play an important role in the ecosystem by providing food and oxygen for aquatic animals.
In the Indian River Lagoon, algae are an important food source for grazing animals like manatees and sea turtles. In turn, they help to control the growth of algae by eating them. However, when there is an overgrowth of algae, it can cause problems for the health of the lagoon. Algae blooms can decrease the amount of oxygen in the water, which can be harmful to aquatic animals. They can also block out sunlight, preventing seagrasses from getting the light they need to grow.
The importance of aquatic plants to the ecosystem
The Indian River Lagoon is home to a diverse array of aquatic plant life, from seagrasses to mangroves. This vegetation is vital to the ecosystem, providing food and shelter for marine animals, protecting against erosion, and improving water quality.
Aquatic plants are also an important part of the global carbon cycle. They absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen back into the air, making them a key player in combating climate change. In fact, according to Conservation International, mangroves alone remove 1.5 million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year! That’s truly impressive.
How to protect aquatic plants when you’re out on the water
There are many different ways that you can help to protect aquatic plants when you’re out on the water. You can do this by keeping a lookout for seagrass beds and mangroves, and steering clear of them when possible. Avoid entering dense areas of mangroves or seagrass beds altogether, preventing a situation wherein you might become entangled or dig up the bottom.
One of the best ways to protect aquatic plants while boating is to be aware of where they are and avoid disturbing them. If you do need to anchor in a seagrass bed, make sure to use a mooring or an anchor that won’t damage the plants, like the ones we ensure our boats are equipped with at 321. And always remember to clean up any trash that you see in the water! In addition to keeping track of your own trash, helping to clean up our waterways protects animals from ingesting human garbage and keeps the area beautiful. Help keep our aquatic plant life healthy and thriving for years to come.
Ready to Check Out the Aquatic Life Around 321?
In conclusion, seagrasses, mangroves, and other aquatic plants are vital to the health of the Indian River Lagoon and the creatures that call it home. These plants play an important role in stabilizing sediments, filtering pollutants, and providing food and shelter for marine animals. Next time you’re out on the water, take a moment to appreciate the aquatic plant life that makes our waterways so special! And be sure to do your part to protect these plants by anchoring carefully, picking up trash, and avoiding damage to seagrass beds and mangroves. With everyone’s help, we can keep the Indian River Lagoon healthy and thriving for years to come!