Seagrass beds are highly productive habitats, and provide structure and food for dense and diverse communities of animals. Seagrasses stabilize sediment, buffer coastlines, and improve water clarity, nutrient cycling and production. In many areas of the world eelgrass and other seagrasses serve as nursery habitats for juvenile fishes and shellfish, thus providing essential habitat for fisheries.
These fishes and shrimps were collected by seining from eelgrass at the ZEN site in southern Japan and illustrate the assemblage of predatory animals living there. Eelgrass beds, similar to many seagrasses, are heavily impacted and are declining worldwide. Our goal is that research supported by ZEN may be used to both understand basic ecological theory and to better inform regional managers for conservation and restoration of this critical coastal habitat.