Where waves pound and water churns, sometimes there is just enough of a patch of dirt that a surf grass seed can become buried and grow persistent roots. From there, surf grass can grow into bright green stems and leaves that invite all sorts of creatures, colored with the same camouflaging neon, to make a home.
Up close, turn over a leaf and find a mottled kelp crab using some of it legs to cling on. Or, you might find a Vosnesensky's isopod, which looks like a creeping insect you might not want to meet up with on land. But it's actually a crustacean cousin of the crab.
From a distance, surf grass can make the water around seem a mysterious dark turquoise. As each wave comes in, the grass shifts in a living kaleidoscope of blues and greens.
Surf grass grows best in rocky shores with many rolling waves that give it its name. It prefers the middle to lower intertidal zone, where there is usually the coverage of water even at low tide. The grass, unlike slow-moving snails, can float down with the water line as it drops.
Surf grass resembles eel grass, but the latter plant, a favorite delicacy of Brant geese, grows in slow-moving salt marshes. For more, see my eelgrass page.
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