Sargassum (seaweed) On Beach Like White on Rice … And That’s Not Sarcasm
My wife and I spent our 25th Anniversary in Galveston earlier this week. The weather was perfect and it was much less crowded on weekdays. We had a great time but the last day there the beaches were inundated with sea weed. I decided to do a little research.
I found out the seaweed is called Sargassum. It is thick along the Texas beaches now. There was a swath about a foot deep and about ten feet wide all along the beach. That meant you had to walk through it to get to the water. It also has a rather pungent odor. It is really a nuisance for some ; but biologically speaking it is a very good thing.
According to Wikipedia Sargassum was named by the Portuguese sailors who found it in the Sargasso Sea after a species of rock rose (Helianthemum) that grew in their water wells at home and that was called sargaço in Portuguese. The thick masses of Sargassum provide an environment for a distinctive and specialized group of marine animals and plants, many of which are not found elsewhere. We did see seagulls eating small shrimp from the clumps as they washed onto the beach.
The sargassum is actually beneficial to the beaches because it helps prevent beach erosion. There is a way to know if your favorite beach has been invaded.There is a web site that tracks where the Sargassum is located along the beaches.