How to Identify Seagrass


Seagrass has been around since the time of the dinosaurs, and thrives in oceans and other bodies of salt water. According to the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce, seagrass provides a habitat, nursery and food source for a variety of vertebrates and invertebrates. As a result, seagrass is vital from an environmental and ecological standpoint. The ability to identify seagrass will allow you to better appreciate this vital plant in its natural surroundings.

Step 1

Determine whether the body of water you are in is salt water or fresh water. Remember that seagrass will only grow in saline water, so if you are in fresh water the plant you are seeing is not seagrass.

Step 2

Notice whether or not the plant is completely submerged in the water or is sticking out in places. Seagrass always grows underwater.

Step 3

Examine the clarity of the water, as well as its depths and how much sunlight can reach the plant. Seagrass requires direct sunlight for at least eight hours each day.

Step 4

Inspect the leaves of the plant, keeping in mind that they should be long, narrow and green in color. Stems grow together in groups with three to fives leaves on each one.

Step 5

Look for small creatures seeking refuge and food in the seagrass. Some animals that enjoy the habitat of this plant include turtles, small fish and various crustaceans.

Step 6

Measure the temperature of the water, knowing that seagrass prefers water around 75 degree Fahrenheit. Seagrass especially dislikes water that changes temperature drastically or quickly and may die under these circumstances.

Things You'll Need

  • Thermometer


  • Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce: Seagrass Habitat
  • Palomar Community College: Seagrasses
  • Seagrass Watch: What is seagrass?
Keywords: identifying seagrass, about seagrass, how to identify

About this Author

Mark Rhyman has been working as a freelance writer since 2005. His work has appeared in numerous online and print publications, such as "Kotori" magazine and "Inside Lacrosse." He has his bachelor's degree in English with a concentration in creative writing from the State University of New York at Brockport.