PORT PHILLIP BAY


Seagrass 

Zostera nigricaulis

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Can be confused with other species in the genus Zostera. Z. muelleri has a rounded notched leaf tip, compared with Z. nigricaulis with rounded tips. Z. muelleri has 2-4 leaves per stem, compared with 5-12 leaves on Z. nigricaulis. Z. muelleri lacks the long thin stem on Z. nigricaulis.

Another species from the genus, Zostera tasmanica, can be distinguished by the absence of a wiry, dark brown stem and presence of pointed leaf tips.

Main information sources:
Womersley, H.B.S., (1984-2003). The Marine Benthic Flora of Southern Australia. Part 1-3d. Govt. Printer, South Australia.
Baldock, R.N. 2010. Algae Revealed. South Australian State Herbarium. Website.
AlgaeBase. Website.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Tracheophyta
Subphylum:
Euphyllophytina
Superclass:
Angiospermae
Class:
Liliopsida
Subclass:
Alismatidae
Order:
Alismatales
Family:
Zosteraceae
Genus:
Zostera
Species:
nigricaulis

General Description

Long round wiry dark stems, with a cluster (5-12) of leaves at top. Leaves are flat and long and with three longitudinal ribs (veins) and a rounded (obtuse) leaf tip. Stem arises from a runner (rhizome) which is creeping and usually arched root system. Green leaves with dark brown wiry stem. Up to 1.4 m (leaf) long.

Biology

Beds of this seagrass support diverse communities of fish and invertebrates. They are locally declining in some regions.

Habitat

In soft sediment of tidal pools and shallow subtidal waters, to depth of 15 m.

Soft substrates

Distribution guide

Southern Australia.

Species Group

Seaweeds and seagrasses Seagrasses

Depth

Shallow (1-30 m)

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

1.4 m

Diet

Photosynthetic - sunlight

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Native to Australia

Identify

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Not listed
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Not listed

Author

article author Pocklington, Jacqui

Jacqui Pocklington is a Research Associate with expertise in algal taxonomy.

citation

Cite this page as:
Pocklington, Jacqui, 2011, Seagrass, Zostera nigricaulis, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 23 Aug 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/11185

Text: creative commons cc by licence