Summer is brewing. That means hot coffee is out, and Iced Coffee is a must have. This heat brings about a lot of changes and a lot of important necessities. Including skin protectant, sunglasses, drinking water and so much more. We know these things are important to help protect us from the glorious, yet invading sun rays.
As we cruise the beaches, searching for crabs in the evening with our flashlights or trying to find the perfect waves on the Gulf in the morning sunrise. We might see dolphins, sting rays floating to the surface or even a couple of algae blooms.
Right now, we are seeing a bunch of brown plant algae. Here’s what we know about this amazing thing know has “seaweed” or its proper name Sargassum. Honestly, we locals like to also refer to it as June grass. It comes and goes everywhere at least once a year. For our lovely guests that travel to us for the peak season. We tend to get a lot of questions on what is it, how it comes about, why is there so much of it and is it toxic?
Seaweed is a macroalgae that refers to thousands of species of macroscopic, multicellular, marine algae.
References the great, James Spann, we are experiencing a massive influx of our June grass from the Sahara Dust. This turns into dust clouds that do hold a lot of minerals sparking the algae bloom in the ocean. Any kind of high tide or rough current sweeps the seaweed off the ocean floor and to our beach surfaces. Mix it with the sand and you have what you see on the gulf all the way down to Mexico.
In multiple areas of the Panhandle, there are individuals who help to mitigate the seaweed, not to remove it completely but just to simple push them to the sand dunes or compile them in an effective way.
Seaweed happens to have an amazing effect on our ecosystem. It is so helpful to keeping our beaches clean, our skin healthy and our marine life feed. The biggest benefit it has on our planet is absorbing carbon emissions (up to 50 times greater than forests on land), regenerating marine ecosystems, creating biofuel and renewable plastics as well as generating marine protein.
For the question of toxicity. It is also the opposite of what most people think. There are no known poisonous or toxic seaweeds in existence. There are only a few typesseaweeds that cause a bit of acid, but it is compared to the acid that is already in your stomach. It contains many kinds of antioxidants like B12.
With all we know and all we are still learning. Seaweed is a nothing but great asset to our water and even to our beaches. It may feel a little gooey but isn’t something to worry about in terms of health. June grass comes and goes every year and honestly, we should love it more than hate it. It keeps the world balanced 🙂