Sea Slugs Scrub Seagrass by the Seashore


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“They’re so majestic,” ecologist Brent Hughes says as he looks out across Elkhorn Slough, a large winding estuary off the Monterey Bay coastline. He’s not talking about whales or pelicans. He’s talking about a tiny, slimy, aquatic slug — the eelgrass sea hare. Donning his wetsuit, Hughes hops into his kayak and paddles off toward a section of water where the sea hares live, in an underwater meadow of seagrass.

Also known as the Taylor’s sea hare, these humble, zebra-striped slices of green jello are actually crucial to the health of their eelgrass meadow ecosystem.

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