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Why are aquatic plants so important?

Underwater plants provide oxygen, food, and shelter.

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Eel grass, a type of submerged aquatic vegetation, supports the life cycle of many fish and shellfish.

The health of submerged aquatic vegetation is an important environmental indicator of overall ocean and estuary health.

Seagrasses in bays and lagoons, for instance, are vital to the success of small invertebrates and fish. These small creatures are a food source for commercial and recreational fish.

Seagrasses also stabilize sediments, generate organic material needed by small invertebrates, and add oxygen to the surrounding water.

Underwater vegetation in shallow coastal waters also supports a wide diversity of marine creatures by providing spawning, nursery, refuge, and foraging grounds for many species.