PARK WATCH Article March 2023 |

Over summer, Wild Families spent time at Point Addis Marine National Park learning why seaweed is so important

Great facts we learnt about seaweed and algae

  • Seaweed is big algae. Some algae that lives in the sea is so tiny you need a microscope to see it. Some algae such as kelp can grow 50 cm a day and creates under the sea forests.
  • There are three main colours of seaweed: green, brown and red. Sometimes seaweed changes to other colours such as white or black when it has died or washed up on the beach.
  • South-eastern Australia has more species of algae than almost anywhere else in the world – over 1,000 species.
  • Seaweed and algae provide important habitat in the open ocean, on reefs, in rockpools and even when washed up on the beach.
  • Algae makes a huge amount of the Earth’s oxygen.

Take your own seaweed discovery adventure!

On your next beach trip, you could learn about seaweed, too. Here are some tips to help your family get to know more about seaweed.

  • Take some time to notice the seaweed on the beach, in the water and in rockpools.
  • Look closely at the seaweed.
  • See how many different colours of seaweed can you find.
  • Pick up some washed-up seaweed and have a close look at it.
  • Describe it to someone in your family, such as saying it looks like a wig, it is a bit see-through, it has ‘pods’ on it, it is shaped like a long belt, it is tangled together.
  • Look for seaweed with different shapes, patterns and textures.
  • Find some seaweed washed up on the beach and touch
    it with your toes. What does the seaweed feel like?
  • Carefully have a look under some dried seaweed on the sand and see if you can see any small critters living in it. Put it back as it was before you looked underneath.
  • Have a look at some live seaweed in a rockpool. What animals do you think would feel safe in amongst the seaweed?
  • Take a deep breath in and thank the plants AND the algae for the oxygen you breathe! 

Stay safe while looking after nature

  • Don’t stick your hands or feet into clumps of algae (living or dead). Instead keep your hands and feet where you can see them to avoid bites or stings.
  • Seaweed is habitat, don’t pull it off, damage it or pull it apart. If you pick up loose seaweed, return it to where you found it.

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