Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Seagrass distribution in the Northern Gulf of Mexico

January 1, 1995

Seagrass ecosystems are widely recognized as some of the most productive benthic habitats in estuarine and nearshore waters of the gulf coast. Seagrass meadows provide food for wintering waterfowl and important spawning and foraging habitat for several species of commercially important finfish and shellfish. Physical structure provided by seagrasses affords juveniles refuge from predation and allows for attachment of epiphytes and benthic organisms. Seagrass communities also support several endangered and threatened species, including some sea turtles and manatees. Changes in seagrass distribution can reflect the health of a water body, and losses of seagrasses may signal water-quality problems in coastal waters. Losses of seagrasses in the northern Gulf of Mexico over the last five decades have been extensive--from 20% to 100% for most estuaries, with only a few areas experiencing increases in seagrasses.

Publication Year 1995
Title Seagrass distribution in the Northern Gulf of Mexico
Authors Lawrence R. Handley
Publication Type Book Chapter
Index ID 70205785
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Wetlands Research Center