What Is Seaweed?
What is seaweed? Seaweed is defined as a large algae growing in the sea – or on rocks below the high-water mark. There are three types: brown, green, and red. These characteristic colours are derived from pigments and within these types are seaweeds that are helpful to function, digestive health, and weight loss when added to your diet.
Look at some answers to frequently asked questions about seaweed here…
Where does seaweed come from?
Seaweed was one of the earliest plants with more than one cell. And it first evolved about 600 million years ago – and lived in the ocean.
Records show that seaweed has been used for over 2000 years in the Japanese diet. And for thousands of years in many cultures seaweed has been used for food and fertiliser. The ancient Hawaiians grew kelp gardens and used the species for medicine.
The seaweed that we know grows in the form of algae in the ocean, as well as rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water.
How does seaweed grow?
Seaweed may be fixed or floating and is an essential food and habitat to an abundance of marine life. It can survive in a range of different water environments but the specially grown holdfast structure needs rock or soil to remain secure. Seaweed requires two environmental features – brackish water and sufficient light.
Some seaweeds are huge like the giant kelp that grows in underwater forests at the bottom of the sea. Many are medium-sized and wash up on beaches all over the world. And some are microscopic and live suspended in water columns and provide a base for marine food chains.
What is seaweed made of?
Seaweed algae have multi-cellular characteristics including macroscopic, benthic, and marine. It absorbs water and nutrients throughout the entire tissue, directly from the water surrounding it. And can photosynthesis in all of these tissues – unlike plants that use their leaves.
Its appearance is similar to non-arboreal plants and its anatomy includes the algal body, the spore cluster, air bladder, float, basal structure, and finger-like extensions.
How long does seaweed last?
Fresh seaweed will keep in the fridge for three to four days – you’ll need to wash it before storing. Storm damaged seaweed is often not fit for eating. Washed seaweeds can be dried and ground. Bear in mind that the seaweed retains both sand and water and will need a lot of washing – a salad spinner is useful to remove excess water.
If the seaweed is dried it can last without losing all of its flavour for up to two years. This is due to the salt that’s found naturally on the seaweed acting as a preservative. However, it will lose qualities of nutrition over time.
How does seaweed reproduce?
Seaweed can reproduce sexually or asexually. This means that some types create male and female cells that join together to produce a new organism – or small spores leave the parent and establish themselves in a new location and grow into individual plants.
What can you use seaweed for?
Seaweed is used in:
- Manufacturing as an effective binding agent
- Commercial goods such as toothpaste
- The cosmetic industry for skin-care products
- Medication as it contains anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial agents
- Japanese cuisine as it’s full of minerals, vitamins, and fibre
Seaweed on the Beaches in Playa del Carmen
Beaches in Playa del Carmen normally get less seaweed – and tractors with rotating tines will remove any excess to keep the beaches beautiful for you.
You’ll be able to identify seaweed that has grown in the ocean and washed ashore. This is the result of increased nutrient flows from rivers and ocean water upsurges.
Scuba diving in Playa del Carmen with Koox Diving is one of the best ways to enjoy the beauty of the coral reefs – and explore the diversity of seaweeds as you safely dive.