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Phyllospadix torreyi - Surfgrass

Geographic range:
Alaska to California

Key features:
Bright green, numerous blades arising from a dense rhizome. Looks like really long, thin-bladed grass.

Similar species:
Zostera marina -- Eel grass

Habitat(s):
bay (rocky shore), exposed rocky shore, kelp forest, protected rocky shore
Phyllospadix torreyi - Surfgrass image

 

Primary common name:
Surfgrass
  ITIS code:
39072
Synonymous name(s):
--
General grouping:
Plants


Geographic Range
Range description:
Phyllospadix torreyi occurs in Western North America, from Alaska to California.
Northern latitude extent:
--
  Southern latitude extent:
--
East longitude extent:
--
  West longitude extent:
--


Intertidal Height
Lowest intertidal height:
0 meters OR -2 feet
  Highest intertidal height:
0 meters OR 0 feet
Intertidal height notes:
Phyllospadix torreyi occurs at or below zero tide level or in mid-low tide pools


Subtidal Depth Range
Minimum depth:
0 meters OR 0 feet
  Maximum depth:
15 meters OR 49.95 feet
Subtidal depth notes:
Phyllospadix torreyi occurs in the intertidal to 15 meters, but is rarely deeper than 5 m in central California.


Habitats
Habitat(s):
bay (rocky shore), exposed rocky shore, kelp forest, protected rocky shore
Habitat notes:
Phyllospadix torreyi is more likely to be found in sand-scoured areas than is Phyllospadix scouleri.


Abundance
Relative abundance:
Phyllospadix torreyi is common.


Species Description
General description:
Phyllospadix torreyi is in the family Zosteraceae, which is commonly known as eel grass. Surfgrass is an angiosperm with true leaves, stems, and rootstocks, not an alga. Phyllospadix torreyi is one of two species of the genus Phyllospadix, the other being Phyllospadix scouleri.
Distinctive features:
Phyllospadix torreyi leaves are characteristically less than 2 mm wide and are generally more firm, cylindrical, and wiry than Phyllospadix scouleri.
Size:
Phyllospadix torreyi grows up to 2 meters.


Natural History
General natural history:
Phyllospadix torreyi's habitat is highly productive, providing shelter for many invertebrates and supporting many species of algae. This species also provides nursery habitat for fishes and invertebrates, such as the California spiny lobster. Phyllospadix torreyi is susceptible to desiccation and heat stress during low midday tides.
Predator(s):
--
Prey:
Phyllospadix torreyi nourishes itself through photosynthesis, converting the energy of light to the energy of carbohydrate molecules.


Feeding behavior
Feeding behavior(s):
Photosynthetic
Feeding behavior notes:
--
 
References:
MARINe. 2004 (Updated 12/09/04). Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Network. World Wide Web electronic publication, http://www.marine.gov, Accessed [04/22/06]

Plants for a future. 2004. World Wide Web electronic publication, http://www.pfaf.org/, Accessed [04/22/06].

 
Data supplied by SIMoN Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network
Anthopleura xanthogrammica - Giant green anemone

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