Macroalgae


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Sargassum, Mustang Island, Texas August 2019

My beach strolls have been less interesting of late (though no less fun). I presume it has to do with lack of stormy weather, we have been woefully dry here along the Coastal Bend. Tempests usually stir up the water and deposit all manner of random items on the sand.

A while back I read that it might be possible to find small seahorses (or other fascinating creatures) tangled in sargassum. So, I usually stop and peer through the clumps of seaweed. I haven’t had any luck thus far but I remain optimistic.

Thankfully, there hasn’t been as much sargassum washing ashore here as one might think based on the discovery of the largest documented sargassum bloom in the Atlantic Ocean. As with most things, some sargassum is good but too much can be problematic. Out in the open ocean it serves as a safe haven for many of the smaller marine creatures. In thick mats, like those spotted recently in satellite images, however, it can trap sea turtles and damage coral.

Categories: Nature Notes

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