Macroalgaes, marine plants, and phytoplankton are all primary producers, which derive energy from the sun through photosynthesis to form the base of the food web in the ocean. Macroalgae are larger algae that typically attach to a substrate to anchor them down. Marine plants such as eelgrass are flowering plants that produce seeds. Phytoplankton is a general term describing very small plants and algae that drift with the ocean’s currents. Nearshore areas of the Gulf of the Farallones support bull and giant kelp, eelgrass and coralline algae while numerous species of phytoplankton thrive in the nutrient-rich surrounding waters. All of these play a very important biological role in the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.

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