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Shoal Grass

Holodule wrightii

Shoal grass can be found worldwide. It resembles land grass, with stiff, green, strap-shaped blades. (FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute/Flickr)
Shoal grass can be found worldwide. It resembles land grass, with stiff, green, strap-shaped blades. (FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute/Flickr)

Shoal grass is a perennial submerged aquatic herb that resembles land grass and is usually found in waters up to 40 feet deep. Although it can be found around the world, it grows predominantly throughout the southern United States and South America.

Appearance:

  • Resembles land grass, with stiff, green, strap-shaped blades that grow up to 13 inches long
  • Produces egg-shaped fruits that are about 2 millimeters in size

Habitat:

  • Shoal grass is usually found in waters up to 40 feet deep and is able to withstand prolonged exposure to low-tide conditions

Range:

  • Shoal grass can be found worldwide. In the United States, it is distributed throughout the southern states, including Alabama, Florida, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, the Carolinas and Texas. It is also widely dispersed throughout South America

Predators:

  • Habitat destruction and motor damage pose the biggest threats to shoal grass
  • Increased sunlight following die-offs of turtle grass has caused a decrease in the light-sensitive shoal grass population

Reproduction and Life Cycle:

  • Reproduction occurs through shoot and seed production and fragmentation 

Other Facts:

  • Shoal grass is known as a pioneer species, colonizing areas that are too shallow for other species to thrive in or on banks that have been damaged.
  • Shoal grass forms dense meadows, creating important habitat for invertebrates and fish.
  • Because shoal grass sequesters carbon, it plays a major role in counteracting ocean acidification.

Sources and Additional Information:

  • Shoal Grass – Seagrass Recovery
  • Shoal Grass – USDA Plants Profile
  • Types of seagrass – Garden Guides
  • Underwater Grasses in Chesapeake Bay & Mid-Atlantic Coastal Waters by Maryland Sea Grant

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