Posidonia australis

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Posidonia australis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Alismatales
Family: Posidoniaceae
Genus: Posidonia
Species: P. australis
Binomial name
Posidonia australis
Hook.f.
Detrital P. australis accumulation at West Beach, South Australia

Posidonia australis is a species of seagrass that occurs in the southern waters of Australia. It is sometimes referred to as Fibreball Weed. The marine plant forms large meadows that are considered to be of high importance to the environmental conservation of the region. Balls of decomposing detritus from the foliage of the plant are found along nearby shore-lines.

Description[edit]

A flowering plant occurring in dense meadows, or along channels, in white sand. It is found at depths from 1 metre to 15 metres. Subsurface rhizomes and roots provide stability in the sands it occupies, erect rhizomes and leaves reduce the accumulation of silt.

The leaves are ribbon-like and between 11 and 20 mm wide. They are bright green, perhaps becoming browned with age.[2] The terminus of the leaf is rounded or absent through damage. They arranged in groups with older leaves on the outside, longer and differing in form from the younger leaves they surround.

The species is monoecious. The flowers appear on small spikes on leafless stems, two bracts are found on each spike. The plant pollinates by hydrophily, by dispersing in the water.[3]

Recent research has shown that Posidonia australis can sequester carbon 35 times more efficiently than rainforests.[4]


Distribution[edit]

This species is found in waters around the southern coast of Australia. In Western Australia is occurs in the Shark Bay region, around islands of the Houtman Abrolhos, and southward along the coast of the Swan Coastal Plain. The species is recorded at the edge of the Esperance Plains, the Archipelago of the Recherche, at the southern coast of the southwest region. The range extends to the east to coastal areas of New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, and Victoria.[3] A sign of a nearby occurrence of Posidonia is the presence of masses of decomposing leaves on beaches, these form fibrous balls.

Taxonomy[edit]

This species is a member of the family Posidoniaceae, one of eight occurring in Australia. The ninth member, Posidonia oceanica, is found in the mediterranean sea. The binomial for this species, Posidonia , is given for the god of the seas Poseidon, and australis refers to the southern distribution. The species was first described by Joseph Hooker in Flora Tasmaniae.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Short, F.T., Carruthers, T.J.R., Waycott, M., Kendrick, G.A., Fourqurean, J.W., Callabine, A., Kenworthy, W.J. & Dennison, W.C. 2010. Posidonia australis. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 9 January 2013.
  2. ^ "Posidonia australis". FloraBase. Western Australian Government Department of Parks and Wildlife. 
  3. ^ a b Mike van Keulen. "The genus Posidonia König (nom. cons.) (Posidoniaceae).". Murdoch University. 
  4. ^ "Humble plants may save the planet". University of Technology, Sydney. 14 August 2013. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  5. ^ Hooker, J.D. (1858), The botany of the Antarctic voyage of H.M. discovery ships Erebus and Terror . III. Flora Tasmaniae 2(6): 43 [tax. nov.] f. APNI

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