PORT PHILLIP BAY


Seagrass 

Zostera muelleri

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:
muelleri

General Description

Linear leaves with 3 longitudinal veins (1 is prominent). Two to four leaves per shoot. Apex of leaf is rounded and notched. Shoots are short (1-2 cm) and arise from rhizome nodes. Roots occur at nodes of rhizomes. Leaves medium green. Up to 10 cm long (leaves), can be to 60 cm when permanently submerged.

Biology

This species is sensitive to increased nutrient levels in the sediment. It flowers and fruits between October and March. Each plant is both male and female (monecious). This and other species of seagrass are important habitat for many invertebrates, fish and algae. They also provide carbon fixation and are impacted by physical disturbance, pollutants, sedimentation and changes in sea level.

Habitat

Soft sediments, intertidal and shallow subtidal including lagoons and estuaries, sheltered waters, to depth of 1 m.

Soft substrates

Distribution guide

New Zealand and Australia.

Species Group

Seaweeds and seagrasses Seagrasses

Depth

Shore (0-1 m)
Shallow (1-30 m)

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

60 cm

Diet

Photosynthetic - sunlight

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Recorded in 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 muelleri, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 23 Nov 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/12323

Text: creative commons cc by licence