Kelp and Eelgrass in Puget Sound


Published: 2007

Pages: 34

Publication number: 2007-05

Author(s): Thomas F. Mumford, Jr

Kelp, which is a large brown seaweed, attaches itself to bedrock or cobbles in shallow waters, especially in areas with moderate to high waves or currents. Eelgrass, which is a flowering plant adapted to the marine environment, roots in sand or mud in shallow waters where waves and currents are not too severe. Both kelp and eelgrass need fairly high light levels to grow and reproduce, so they are found only in shallow waters of nearshore ecosystems. They provide variety of ecological functions, and are highly productive, annually producing large amounts of carbon that fuel nearshore food webs. Shellfish, such as crabs and bivalves, use eelgrass beds for habitat and nursery areas. Fish such as juvenile salmonids, use eelgrass beds as migratory corridors as they pass through Puget Sound; the beds provide both protection from predators and abundant food.

Suggested citation

Mumford, T.F. 2007. Kelp and Eelgrass in Puget Sound. Puget Sound Nearshore Partnership Report No. 2007-05. Published by Seattle District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle, Washington.