In 2012, marine biologists first published evidence that eelgrass seeds can survive being eaten by at least three types of fish, one turtle and one variety of bird. Previously, scientists thought eelgrass (shown here), a type of marine plant, could only spread via the currents or by expanding its root system.
Seagrasses, such as eelgrass, form the base of some aquatic ecosystems and help fight climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide. However, eelgrass beds are suffering from algae blooms that block light from hitting the grass. Algae blooms can result from nutrient pollution running into the sea from farms and lawns on land. Hitching a ride in an animal's gut could prove to be an important way for eelgrass to re-colonize lost territory, according to Sarah Sumoski, co-author of the study published in the Marine Ecology Progress Series.