As an opportunity to identify seagrass species and collect data for Sarasota County’s Seagrass Monitoring Programs, staff and volunteers at Selby Gardens took part in the annual bay-wide survey for the third consecutive year.
Seagrass is an excellent indicator of water quality while the grass itself is vital to the bay ecosystem, providing food, habitat, and substrate stabilization.
After a briefing covering what to observe and how to report, the teams ventured out with masks, snorkels, clipboards, and monitoring equipment.
Using a map and GPS coordinates, teams spent 20-30 minutes at each point, observing and compiling data within a 50-foot radius.
Three types of grass, turtle grass (Thalassia testudinum), manatee grass (Syringodium filiforme), and shoal grass (Halodule wrightii), were encountered. Epiphytic and drift algae levels and any marine life observed were recorded.
Seagrass coverage in Sarasota Bay has increased by over 50% since the 1980’s. Hopefully the results from this year will show that positive trend continuing.
As Marie Selby Botanical Gardens overlooks beautiful Sarasota Bay, we are proud to take part in efforts to preserve and protect it, and thank our generous volunteers who make it possible.