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Wild Love Stories; Zostera Marina, “All Aboard The Love Boat”

Posted on: Feb 15, 2021 / News / 0 COMMENTS















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Wild Love Stories

Zostera marina, “All Aboard the Love Boat” 

By Jesse Potter

While plants are difficult to anthropomorphize into having the concept of love, they do get steamy in some interesting ways. And we’re not talking about humidity! Most people are familiar with the wind and animal based pollination that most plants utilize to reproduce, but nature throws us a few eccentricities every now and then.



Photo by Sofia Sadogurska

Zostera marina, or eelgrass, is a marine plant that can be found around tidal zones here at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. Most of the time eelgrass is submerged underwater, so the typical strategies of transporting pollen through the air or attaching it to animals for dispersal aren’t so accessible to them. Instead Z. marina has evolved quite a different strategy that takes advantage of their aquatic habitat.

The flower stalks of Z. marina are either completely male or completely female, and make use of 2 different pollination strategies depending on the level of the tide. When submerged, the male flowers’ pollen is moved by ocean currents until it slowly sinks, occasionally landing on female flowers. Instead of slowly drifting and sinking, pollen produced at the surface of the water collects into floating rafts, voyaging along the water’s surface where they will, with some luck, reach the stigmas of the female flowers.

These many different love stories can be a metaphor for supporting non-profit organizations like the Bolsa Chica Conservancy. Whether you chose to Volunteer your time, Donate Today, or just spread the word of an organization, these strategies can all have equal success! Go to www.bolsachica.org and choose which strategy works best for you!
 

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