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10 Common Characteristics of Seaweeds

by corri

Seaweed is a group of organism called macro-algae. Unlike land plants, seaweed don’t have roots, stems, leaves and flowers.

There various types of seaweed but they are known to be divided into three color groups which are green seaweed, brown seaweed and red seaweed.

  1. Identification

Each seaweed grops contains more than a thousand species. The green seaweed also known as Chlorophyta usually comes with kelp. While the brown seaweed called Phaeophyta has approximately 1500 species. Brown seaweed has the most complex structure compared to any other algae. The last one is red seaweed or Rhodophyta. Red seaweed contains more than 4,000 species. Red seaweed body is in average size compared to brown algae ad built by branched filaments.

Bleachweed or prionitis, sea brush also known as odonthalia floccose and winged rib or delesseria decipiens belongs to the red seaweed groups. Some of red seaweed species secrete calcium carbonate and they tend to live in a deeper water.The last seaweed group is the green seaweed. Green seaweed has more than 7000 species and unlike brown and red seaweed, green seaweed are divided into freshwater seaweed and marine seaweed. You can found them easily in any kind of beach. You may want to read about Types of Atlantic Ocean Crabs

  1. Taxonomy

Seaweed belongs to autotrophic category which means seaweeds are capable to produce its own food using light or chemical energy. It is basically belongs to polyphyletic, which means a family or organism but they don’t share an immediate common ancestor. The member of polyphyletic group is called a polyphyly. They tend to share the same characteristic, regardless about their different ancestors are. Algae, C4 photosynthetic plants and edentates are members from polyphyletic family.

Marine algae also belong to kingdom of Protista, which mean they are not belong to plants. This is because they don’t have what it takes to be characterized as plants, such as roots, stems, leaves, flowers and cones. Read more about Types of Jellyfish in Indonesia

  1. Structure

Marine algae has a very unique structure contains of thallus, lamina, sorus, air bladders, stipe, holdfast and haptera. Seaweed entire body called thallus, and its flattened structure of leaves called lamina. Even though seaweed can reproduce both sexually and asexually, they also have cluster of spores spore called sorus.

Seaweed has many different characteristic, some may have stem-like structure called stipe and some other do not have air bladder, which is a hollow, gas filled structure organ located between the lamina and stipe. Holdfast is very special seaweed character which helps the seaweed attached to rock and other solid sea floor, they basically play role as an anchor. Read more about Types of Ocean Trout

The last one is haptera, which is also a part of holdfast to help anchoring to a benthic surface. Seaweed has a very important role in marine ecosystems as they are food for sea urchins and many fishes.

  1. Uses

Seaweeds is very popular especially for its enormous benefits such as human foods, toothpaste, paints, cosmetics, fertilizers and medicinal and industrial use. Modern science make this beautiful marine algae as one of the most important resource for human ecosystems.

Indonesia, Philippines, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Ireland, Wales, California and many other countries especially the one located in the coastal area are producing and consuming seaweed constantly. Korea use seaweed as a part of their daily meal, either soup or greasy food, you will find that everyone is eating seaweed. Read more about Types of Sea Sponges

Seaweed can also be used as food additives, dessert and different kind of sauce as its chemical substance can be extracted into agar, carrageenan and into another gelatinous substances. Agar is very similar to gelatin, but it is plant based, while carrageenan serves as one of the most important part of biological activites and one of many ingredients for biomedicine.

  1. Reproduction

Seaweed can have sexual and asexual reproduction. Asexual reproduction mean as vegetative growth while they can also release spores as one of their sexual reproduction systems. Seaweed can reproduce sexually as they release spores from sporophytes and settling down to grow into new male of female seaweed, this process iscalled gametes. on the other hand fragmentation and division are what they do to reproduce asexually.

Fragmentation or division is when some parts of the plant break off and gradually grow as different individuals. They work basically like clones, which is identical to each other. Read more about  Types of Ocean Parasites

Green seaweed is a very special group of seaweed. Green seaweeds needs its own special nutrients which is nitrogen. If their special nutrients is a lot, they will grow faster. However, they will also rapidly die once they finished reproduce and nutrients depleted. Red seaweed and brown seaweed tend to lives longer even with limited sunlight and severe water temperature. Red seaweed can live approximately of 6 to 10 years.

  1. Habitat

Seaweed lives in the ocean and tend to be benthic. Benthic means they lives on a hard surface and usually at the ocean floor. However, green seaweed can be found both in marine and freshwater. Either rocky or sandy beach, you will find green seaweed attached on rocks, sheels or other algae. Look for the muddy bottoms.

Seaweed needs a fair amount of sunlight to help with photosynthesis process. The light sufficient area usually tend to to located close to the shore, is their favorite place to live. It doesn’t matter either it is rocky shore, muddy shore or sandy sore. However, seaweed are most likely to pick to live in the rocky shore littoral zone. Read more about Types of Ocean Vegetation

  1. Composition

Seaweed absorbs sunlight to help with their photosynthesis process, meaning they have so many nutritien value and great amount of protein. Seaweed consists of 70%-90% water with zero carbohydrates. Alginic acid, laminaran, mannitol, fucoidan, protein, fat, tannins, potassium, sodium, magnesium and iodine are some other beneficent constituents of common brown algae, red algae and green algae

  1. Types of Seaweeds
  • Brown Algae

Brown algae also known as phaeophyta meaning the dusky plant is the largest type of seaweed. Their color is yellow-brown or brown and they have a root like structure to help them get attached to solid sea surface. Some edible seaweed such as kelp belongs to brown algae group

  • Green Algae

Green algae called chlorophyta contains more than 4000 species and most likely to be found in rocky shore marine or freshwater. They can also live in most soils and tidal pools. Green algae comes in three specific characteristic which are unicellular, colonial or multi-cellular

  • Red Algae

Red Algae also called rhodophyta has more than 6000 species. Red algae can live in limited light sufficient area and still live up to 10 hours. Red algae has unique pigmentation system called phycoerythrin which helps to color itself into brilliant shade.

Basically red algae can live in deeper water than brown algae and green algae because they have the ability to live using blue light. Red algae take a very special part on the formation of coral reefs. A lot of Asian cuisine use red algae as their food additives

  1. Medicine

There is no doubt that we can use seaweed for medicinal purpose. Seaweed has been known to be a part of medicine for tuberculosis treatment, arthritis, colds, influenza and wom infestations. There are still a lot of research and study going on about seaweed beneficial purpose for human medicine. Many have been reported that there are ongoing study about seaweed as herpes treatment and used in bone-replacement therapy. Read more about  Types of Ocean Shrimp

  1. Sargassum

Sargassum muticum is an invasive brown seaweed and first found and identifies in Europe in 1973. It is a small and innocuous type of seaweed. Its habitats is differs and each habitats can support its growth in its own ways. Some sargassum grow up from 1 – 3 m length and some other has 16 m in length. Sargassum muticum can live up to 3 to 4 years and they continuously grow 10 cm longer every day.

Sargassum has strongly seasonal growth patter and highly tolerant to full sunlight and variations of temperature and marine salinity. That is why they could live in broad range of area from mainly rock pools to sub-tidal and substrata exposed rock. Sargassum provide additional habitats for sea animal such as small fish and crustaceans, however, its growth on the surface of water can interfere both boat traffic and swimmer.

Alongside with other ocean animals and sea plants, seaweed has a very important role in marine ecosystems. There are a lot of types of ocean vegetation and seaweed happened to be apart of one  sustainable use of ocean resources. Learn another ocean facts, creature and environment so we can have roles in protecting marine ecosystems

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