Eelgrass (Zostera marina L) is the dominant seagrass occurring in eastern Canada and the northeastern United States, where it often forms extensive meadows in coastal and estuarine areas. Eelgrass beds are extremely productive and provide many valuable ecological functions and ecosystem services. They serve as critical feeding and nursery habitat for a wide variety of commercially and recreationally important fish and shellfish and as feeding areas for waterfowl and other waterbirds. Eelgrass detritus is also transported considerable distances to fuel offshore food webs. In addition, eelgrass beds stabilize bottom sediments, dampen wave energy, absorb nutrients from surrounding waters, and retain carbon through burial.
Neckles, H. A., Hanson, A. R., Colarusso, P., Buchsbaum, R. N., & Short, F.T. (eds.). (2009). Status, Trends, and Conservation of Eelgrass in Atlantic Canada and the Northeastern United States: Workshop Report. [Report]. Portland, ME: University of Southern Maine, Muskie School of Public Service, Casco Bay Estuary Partnership.