Oregon State University scientist Caitlin Magel sifts through a muddy clump of leaves and roots in the shallow water of a tide flat in Netarts Bay on Oregon’s North Coast. She’s surrounded by a long, thin bed of sea grass.
“It’s the native eelgrass to the Pacific Northwest,” she says of the bright green grass, lying flat on the mud at low tide.
The seagrass uses photosynthesis like kelp. But unlike sugar kelp it persists from year to year and also has roots.