5 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Sargassum
If you have visited the gulf beaches of Corpus Christi (or anywhere on the Gulf of Mexico), you’ve probably noticed one of nature’s complex ecosystems piled up, or as it’s scientifically called, sargassum seaweed. (We just call it seaweed.) Here are five neat facts you probably didn’t know about these amazing and beneficial mats that wind up on our shores:
- It’s actually a vine-like algae
- Sargassum aids in strengthening sand dunes, nature’s protection from high tides, winds and storms
- Many creatures benefit from sargassum at sea, including small sea turtles such as the Kemp’s ridley, that use it for protection from predators
- Other species, such as billfish, use the sargassum mats as sort of a mobile nursery, providing food and shelter as fish grow
- According to the National Park Service, as many as 70 species live in the floating masses
Next time you’re on the gulf beaches and see seaweed, remember that is an extremely beneficial and important part of the Gulf of Mexico as well as our natural beaches.
In the image below - can you spot the newly hatched Kemp’s ridley sea turtle in the sargassum? Hint – it’s heading towards the water.