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…

Seaweed Science

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.

Creative Ways to Get Rid of Excessive Sargassum

Sargassum is a type of brown macroalgae seaweed that floats on the surface of the ocean. While it is a natural occurrence, in recent years there has been an increase in the amount of sargassum washing up on beaches, causing problems for marine life and tourism industries. The excess sargassum is believed to be caused by climate change and nutrient pollution. The blooms of sargassum seaweed in the Gulf of Mexico have been steadily increasing over the past few years. Efforts are underway to find ways to mitigate the impact of sargassum on the region.

1. Use it as a natural fertilizer – Sargassum is not only beneficial for marine life but also for plants. It contains high levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, making it a great natural fertilizer. You can easily collect sargassum from the beach and use it to enrich your garden soil or add it to your compost pile for even better results.

2. Create a seaweed bath – Try to collect enough seaweed to fill half a bath with, rinse it well, and then soak it thoroughly in hot water. To counter the sargassum seaweed odor, you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oils.

3. Make a natural insect repellent – You can create a spray by boiling the seaweed in water and then straining it. Add the liquid to a spray bottle and use it to repel insects from your garden or home.

4. Use it as a natural mulch to help retain moisture in the soil and suppress weed growth. Simply spread the seaweed over your garden beds and around your plants.

5. Create a natural dye for fabrics and other materials. Simply boil the seaweed in water and then strain the liquid. Soak the fabric or material in the liquid and let it sit and absorb as much color as possible, for a few hours.

6. Use it as a building material for eco-friendly homes and structures. To create sargassum bricks some manufacturers mix other natural materials, to improve durability: they usually add sand or clay to the seaweed.

7. Create art and crafts – You can use the seaweed to create sculptures, jewelry, and other decorative items. The unique texture and color of the seaweed make it a great material for creative projects.

What can you also use seaweed for?

Seaweed is commercially 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 fibers

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 is one of the best ways to enjoy the beauty of the coral reefs – and explore the diversity of marine life as you safely dive.

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