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Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Marine Botany


Students at Hopkins Marine Station have done research projects on these grasses present in California: Distichlis (salt grass) and  Phyllospadix (surfgrass).

cross section of surf grass blade

The cross section of a surf grass blade (above) shows its critical feature,  the vascular bundle (in the center) with xylem located towards the upper epidermis surrounded by the phloem toward the lower epidermis. The air spaces can be seen as large, clear passageways ton either side of the vascular bundle. 

Grasses are monocots--vascular plants (division Spermatophyta or Anthophyta) and a few, the seagrasses, have adapted to photosynthesis and reproduction in salt water. Seagrasses have well-developed rhizomes (horizontal stems) and air spaces (lacunae) that aid gas exchange and floatation of the flat leaves. 


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Last updated: Feb. 05, 2009