A rich marine ecosystem
© Marie-Claude Trudel
An eelgrass bed is an invaluable habitat for several animal species.The marine environment around the Penouille Peninsula teems with aquatic plants forming underwater meadows that are home to numerous animal species. These “meadows” are actually eelgrass beds. Although eelgrass lives entirely underwater, it is not a seaweed, but rather a herbaceous plant with roots and rhizomes (underground stems).
Eelgrass beds are important for several reasons:
- Their huge root systems hold the sand and help stabilize sediments near the shore, while their leaves slow the movement of the water, promoting the deposition of suspended sediments and contributing to soil stabilization.
- They are a breeding ground for many fish species (including some commercial species).
- They harbour many different species of animals, which live hidden among their foliage or buried in the sand.
- A number of bird species use them as a food source.