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Aquatic phanerogams

Aquatic phanerogams are a group of perennial plants, formed by roots, stems and leaves that growing in always submerged marine or brackish environments. In transitional environments, aquatic phanerogams provide multiple ecological functions: they generate habitats, nurseries and food for benthic fauna, fishes and avifauna; they absorb nutrients and oxygenate waters; stabilize the substrate; attenuate hydrodynamic forcing; reduce sediment resuspension and contrast erosive processes; they sequestrate high amount of COand increase the transparency of the water. In habitat 1150* there are five species of aquatic phanerogams: Cymodocea nodosa, Zostera marina, Z. noltei, Ruppia cirrhosa and R. maritima. LIFE LAGOON REFRESH project involves transplanting of small plants of Z. marina, Z. noltei and R. cirrhosa species, which are suitable for low salinity environments and that characterize habitat 1150* in a high degree of conservation.


Zostera marina

It is the most widespread species in the Venice lagoon and prefers environments with muddy or slightly muddy sediments but with greater depths than those colonized by Z. noltei. It can colonize both marine and brackish waters. Three large central veins and two very evident marginal ones furrow its leaves, that are of considerable size and have a slight depression at the apex.

 Zostera noltei

It is a smaller species than Z. marina, and it mainly colonizes shallow waters of habitat 1140 and 1150*. It prefers environments with muddy slightly mobilized sediments; the leaves are small and narrow with rounded apexes, a marked central depression and three veins clearly larger than the others. In the past, it was the most widespread species in the Venice lagoon, now it is present only in rather sparse meadows.

Ruppia cirrhosa

It is common in confined transitional waters with muddy and partially anoxic sediments. Leaves are very narrow, but often exceeding one meter in height. They have a single central vein and, in the terminal part, they are serrated with several plug-shaped denticulates.