Marine algae are popularly known as Seaweed. These are almost like plants, but they are life and attach themselves to rocks or other hard options in the coastal area.
There are types of seaweeds available as they belong to different algae families. These are also classified on the same basis which you will learn in the next section.
Just like the saying goes too much of anything is bad for health so do not over consume seaweeds as their high iodine content can be severely toxic at times. So, while consuming seaweed is healthy, but its quantity is what you have to be careful about.
Types of Seaweed
The different types of seaweed available for consumption can be first divided into broad categories which are further available in various subtypes. The categories under which the seaweeds are classified are:
(A) Sea Grasses
Though seagrasses are not algae but are also consumed as seaweeds. It has broad leaves which are longer than the usual grass. One of its prominent examples is the
1) Zostera Marina: This seagrass is found in the pools which have a shelly base as they dig in up to 10 meters in the sand and fine gravel of the bed. They might even be the nursing place for the shellfishes. These have narrower blades if they are placed in the sand rather than mud.
(B) Green Algae
Green algae come in almost 2000 different subtypes and are generally found in freshwater or marine habitats. These usually need moist soils to grow. These further come in three forms which are either unicellular, Multicellular and colonial. The various subspecies of the green algae are:
1) Ulva Rigida: These usually make green tide like structures and are epiphytic.
2) Cladophora Rupestris: These are a common occurrence from mid tidal region to the lower pools. These plants are generally darker than other seaweeds.
3) Monostroma Grevillei: These seaweeds are a common occurrence in rocky pool regions and are found abundantly during the first quarter of the year.
4) Prasiola stipitata: These seaweeds are generally a gathering on those rocks which are a spot usually visited by various seabirds.
5) Spongomorpha Aaeruginosa: This is an uncommon seaweed which gathers around the lower lying red algae.
6) Ulva intestinalis Linnaeus: These green algae are usually found in the upper salt marshes region or intertidal areas above or near the surface of the water body.
(C) Red Algae
The red algae category is so diverse that there are almost 600 subtypes of red algae available as seaweeds to you. The presence of phycoerythrin gives these algae its beautiful hue.
Few examples of the subtypes of Red Algae:
1) Aglaothamnion Sepositum: This kind of red algae is found in mussels majorly, but at times it also collects on barnacles, rocks or exposed shores. These seaweeds are common in the northern region.
2) Brongiartella Byssoides: These are usually found on stones and rocks in the subtidal areas and is rare in the intertidal areas.
3) Champia Parvula: This type of red algae is common in the lower intertidal areas.
4) Colaconema Caespitosum: This type of seaweed is common in the shore regions with or without intertidal waters. Can also be found in coastal regions which are semi-exposed.
5) Dudresnaya Verticillata: This seaweed is a rare found usually establishes its settings during summers.
6) Halarachnion Ligulatum: These seaweeds occur year after year and often seen on rocks. It is one of the most widely available seaweeds.
7) Kallymenia Reniformis: These are rarely found in rocks found in shaded pools.
8) Jania Rubens: These are epiphytic seaweeds and at times are found growing on the other brown algae on rocks.
(D) Brown Algae
This is the largest category of seaweeds available to you. Those plants or marine algae which range in their color from shades of yellow to brown are the ones which fall under this category.
Some of the examples of brown algae seaweed are:
1) Alaria Esculenta: This type of brown alga usually grows on those big rocks which are exposed to waves.
2) Fucus spiralis: The focus brown alga generally is seen on the shore area. As its name suggests, it is spiraled at times.
3) Myrionema Strangulans: Myrionema Strangulans live on older plants.
4) Petalonia Fascia: This seaweed is majorly at the beginning of the summer season and springtime.
5) Saccharina latissima: These type of brown algae are generally found in intertidal regions or areas where there is low water.
6) Taonia Atomaria: This is a rarely found species of seaweed. It is usually seen in the sandy pools especially during hot summer days.
7) Undaria Pinantifida: These brown algae grow in sheltered areas with subtidal in intertidal waters.
Some other species of seaweeds which are also classified under these categories are:
Bangia fuscopurpurea, Callophyllis Laciniata, Chondria coerulescens, Corallina elongate, Dictyota dichotoma, Dictyopteris polypodioides, , Elachista fucicola, Elachista scutulata, Eudesme virescens, Fucus ceranoides, Fucus serratus, Fucus vesiculosus, Halidrys siliquosa, Himanthalia elongate, Laminaria digitate, Laminaria Hyperborea, Prasiola calophylla, Spongomorpha aeruginosa, Ulva compressa, Ulva Lactuca, Ulva Linza andUlva rigida to name only a few.
All the names above are scientific, the common types of seaweeds usually found are:
- Agar Agar
Health Benefits of Seaweeds
1) Seaweeds are known to contain omega three fatty acids which are essentially beneficial for the human heart. They help in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system.
2) They are rich in Iodine and thus, help in digestion of fat in your body.
3) Omega 3 fatty acids also help in controlling bad cholesterol and even help in lowering its value.
4) It is as rich in proteins like legumes and compares to the calcium value provided by a serving of broccoli.
5) Certain seaweeds have natural fiber which helps in absorption of fat, and thus, seaweeds may assist in losing weight.
Seaweeds unlike other weeds are not unwanted but consumed and loved by many. They are packed with health. They majorly find their lovers in Japan and Korea. Next time you get an opportunity to try one then do share your experience with us.
But, one last word of caution does not consume them in excess as they have high iodine content which sometimes might be beyond the need of your body.