1 Taxonomy 2 Structure 3 Ecology 4 Uses
4.1 Food 4.2 Herbalism 4.3 Filtration 4.4 Other uses
4.4.1 Photo essay showing women in Zanzibar, Tanzania farming seaweed and making seaweed soap
5 Health risks 6 Genera 7 See also 8 References 9 Further reading 10 External links
Taxonomy "Seaweed" is a colloquial term and lacks a formal definition. A seaweed may belong to one of several groups of multicellular algae: the red algae, green algae, and brown algae. As these three groups do not have a common multicellular ancestor, the seaweed are in a polyphyletic group. In addition, some tuft-forming bluegreen algae (Cyanobacteria) are sometimes considered to be seaweed. Structure Seaweed's appearance somewhat resembles non-arboreal terrestrial plants.
thallus: the algal body
lamina or blade: a flattened structure that is somewhat leaf-like
sorus: a spore cluster on Fucus, air bladder: a flotation-assisting organ on the blade on kelp, float: a flotation-assisting organ between the lamina and stipe
stipe: a stem-like structure, may be absent holdfast: a specialized basal structure providing attachment to a surface, often a rock or another alga haptera: a finger-like extension of the holdfast anchoring to a benthic substrate
The stipe and blade are collectively known as the frond. Ecology
Seaweed cover this rocky seabed on the east coast of Australia
Two specific environmental requirements dominate seaweed ecology.
These are the presence of seawater (or at least brackish water) and
the presence of light sufficient to drive photosynthesis. Another
common requirement is a firm attachment point, although some genera
Sargassum and Gracilaria
Gracilaria have species that float freely. As a result, seaweed most commonly inhabit the part of a sea that is close to the shore (the littoral zone) and within that zone more frequently on rocky shores than on sand or shingle. Seaweed
Seaweed occupy a wide range of ecological niches. The highest elevation is only wetted by the tops of sea spray, the lowest is several meters deep. In some areas, littoral seaweed can extend several miles out to sea. The limiting factor in such cases is sunlight availability. The deepest living seaweed are some species of red algae. Others have adapted to live in tidal rock pools. In this habitat, seaweed must withstand rapidly changing temperature and salinity and even occasional drying. Uses
Onigiri and wakame miso soup, Japan
Laver and toast
Small plots being used to farm seaweed in Indonesia, with each rectangle belonging to a different family
Seaweed has a variety of purposes, for which it is farmed or foraged from the wild. At the beginning of 2011, Indonesia
Indonesia produced 3 million tonnes of seaweed and surpassed the Philippines
Philippines as the world's largest seaweed producer. By 2011, the production was estimated to have reached 10 million tonnes. Food Main article: Edible seaweed See also: Seaweed
Seaweed farming Seaweed
Seaweed is consumed by coastal people, particularly in East Asia, e.g. Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia, e.g. Brunei, Singapore, Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, and Malaysia, and also in South Africa, Belize, Peru, Chile, the Canadian Maritimes, Scandinavia, South West England, Ireland, Wales, California, and Scotland. In Asia, Gim (Korean food) (김, Korea), nori (海苔, Japan), zicai (紫菜, China) are sheets of dried Porphyra
Porphyra used in soups, sushi wrap or onigiri (rice balls). Chondrus crispus
Chondrus crispus (commonly known as 'Irish moss' or carrageenan moss) is another red alga used in producing food additives, along with Kappaphycus
Kappaphycus and gigartinoid seaweed. Porphyra
Porphyra is a red alga used in Wales
Wales to make laver. Laverbread, made from oats and the laver, is a popular dish there. In northern Belize, edible seaweed are mixed with milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla to make a common beverage affectionately called "dulce" (or "sweet"). Seaweed
Seaweed are also harvested or cultivated for the extraction of alginate, agar and carrageenan, gelatinous substances collectively known as hydrocolloids or phycocolloids. Hydrocolloids have attained commercial significance as food additives. The food industry exploits their gelling, water-retention, emulsifying and other physical properties. Agar
Agar is used in foods such as confectionery, meat and poultry products, desserts and beverages and moulded foods. Carrageenan
Carrageenan is used in salad dressings and sauces, dietetic foods, and as a preservative in meat and fish products, dairy items and baked goods. The development of seaweed as an alternative and sustainable source of food and animal feed ingredients depends on the sustainability of the natural resource of raw biomass and on moving the process of feed development from laboratory to industrial scale. Herbalism See also: Fucoidan
Seaweed-covered rocks in the United Kingdom
Seaweed on rocks in Long Island
Alginates are commonly used in wound dressings (see alginate
dressing), and production of dental moulds. In microbiology research,
agar — a plant-based goo similar to gelatin and made from seaweed
— is extensively used as culture medium. Carrageenans, alginates and
agaroses (the latter are prepared from agar by purification), with
other lesser-known macroalgal polysaccharides, have several important
biological activities or applications in biomedicine.
Seaweed extract is used in some diet pills. Other seaweed pills exploit the same effect as gastric banding, expanding in the stomach to make the body feel more full. Filtration The strong photosynthesis of algae creates a large affinity for nutrients; this allows the seaweed to be used purposely to remove undesired nutrients from water. Nutrients such as ammonia, ammonium nitrate, nitrite, phosphate, iron, copper, as well as CO2 are rapidly consumed by growing seaweed. Reefs and lakes are naturally filtered this way (the seaweed being consumed by fish and invertebrates), and this filtering process is duplicated in artificial seaweed filters such as algae scrubbers.
Modern floating algae scrubber/cultivator on a reef pond
Seaweed (macroalgae), as opposed to phytoplankton (microalgae), is used almost universally for filtration purposes because of the need to be able to easily remove (harvest) the algae from the water, which then removes the nutrients. Microalgae require more processing to separate it from the water than macroalgae does; macroalgae is simply pulled out. When used for filtration, saltwater algae commonly grows species of Cladophora, Ulva
Ulva (sea lettuce), and Chaetomorpha. Freshwater filtration applications are useful, too, and will commonly grow species such as Spirogyra. Other uses See also: Seaweed fertiliser
Seaweed fertiliser and Seaweed
Seaweed fuel Other seaweed may be used as fertilizer, compost for landscaping, or a means of combating beach erosion through burial in beach dunes. Seaweed
Seaweed is under consideration as a potential source of bioethanol.
Seaweed is lifted out of top of algae scrubber/cultivator, to be discarded or used as food, fertilizer, or skin care
Seaweed is an ingredient in toothpaste, cosmetics and paints. Alginates enjoy many of the same uses as carrageenan and are used in industrial products such as paper coatings, adhesives, dyes, gels, explosives and in processes such as paper sizing, textile printing, hydro-mulching and drilling. Research suggests that the Australian seaweed Delisea pulchra may interfere with bacterial colonization. Sulfated saccharides from both red and green algae have been known to inhibit some DNA and RNA enveloped viruses. Seaweed collecting
Seaweed collecting is the process of collecting, drying and pressing seaweed. It was a popular pastime in the Victorian era and remains a hobby today. In some emerging countries, Seaweed
Seaweed is harvested daily to support communities.
Women in Tanzania grow "Mwani" (seaweed in Swahili). The farms are made up of little sticks in neat rows in the warm, shallow water. Once they harvest the seaweed, it is used for many purpose: food, cosmetics, fabric, etc.
Seaweed is sometimes used to build roofs on houses on Læsø
Læsø in Denmark
Denmark  Seaweeds are also used as animal feeds. They have long been grazed by sheep, horses and cattle in Northern Europe. They are currently particularly valuable for fish production. Adding seaweed to livestock feed can substantially reduce methane emissions from cattle. Photo essay showing women in Zanzibar, Tanzania farming seaweed and making seaweed soap
Zanzibar's seaweed growers face a changing climate. Here, a farmer tends to her farm in Paje, on the southeast coast of the island.
Mwanaisha Makame and Mashavu Rum, who have been farming seaweed on beautiful Zanzibar island for 20 years, wade through the low tide to their farm.
The seaweed grows underwater for 45 days. When it reaches one
kilogram, the women pick it and dry it, then pack it in bags to be
exported to countries like China,
Korea and Vietnam. There, it's used in medicines and shampoos.
The farmers have a lot of problems due to climate change. Two decades ago, 450 seaweed farmers roamed Paje. Now, only about 150 farmers remain.
Mwanaisha holds up a healthy clump of seaweed. Then she holds up seaweed the farmers won't be able to use. A hard white substance grows on it - ice-ice disease, caused by higher ocean temperatures and intense sunlight.
The seaweed farmers learned how to make soap from their seaweed at the
Seaweed Center, a business that started as an NGO in 2009. At their homes, they mix water, ground seaweed powder, coconut oil, caustic soda and essential oils in a large plastic tub.
Later in the week, the seaweed farmers will sell their finished soaps in Zanzibar town or to regular local customers. As seaweed levels decline, they have found a way to increase the value of their work.
The finished product - a bar of seaweed soap.
Health risks Rotting seaweed is a potent source of hydrogen sulfide, a highly toxic gas, and has been implicated in some incidents of apparent hydrogen-sulphide poisoning. It can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Genera The following table lists a very few example genera of seaweed.
Algae Phylum Remarks
Brown In intertidal zones on rocky shores.
Red Cultivated for food
Brown Also known as kelp, 8–30 m under water, cultivated for food.
Brown Giant kelp, forming floating canopies.
Red Intertidal zones in temperate climate. Cultivated for food.
Claudea elegans tetrasporangia
Algae fuel Aonori, Hijiki, Kombu, Mozuku, Nori, Ogonori, and Wakame
Wakame - seaweed preparations used in Japan, and occasionally Korea
Korea and parts of Oceania Cochayuyo, a form of kelp used as a vegetable in Chile Sea lettuce Seaweed
Seaweed cultivator Seaweed
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Christian Wiencke, Kai Bischof [editors]:
Seaweed Biology: Novel Insights into Ecophysiology, Ecology
Ecology & Utilization. Springer, 2012. ISBN 978-3-642-28450-2 (print); ISBN 978-3-642-28451-9 (eBook)
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Seaweed.
Seaweed Site information on all aspects of algae, seaweed and marine algal biology SeaweedAfrica, information on seaweed utilisation for the African continent. Seaweed. A chemical industry in Brittany, in the past and today. AlgaeBase, a searchable taxonomic, image, and utilization database of freshwater, marine and terrestrial algae, including seaweed.
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