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Sargassum is a type of brown algae that comes from the Sargasso Sea, located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s not slippery or slimy like most people think of seaweed; it’s actually rather coarse and comprised of dense leafy branches with little round floats on them called air / gas bladders. This is a unique feature of Sargassum. The air bladders help the algae float on the surface of the water which exposes the algae to sunlight. This specific algae forms huge islands called rack lines, and within the Sargassum and underneath is a unique habitat utilized by many organisms that are similar in color. This habitat provides crucial food and protection for animals such as the Sargassum fish, species of triggerfish, filefish, shrimp, crabs, and even sea turtle hatchlings. Of course all of these organisms are camouflaged so when you go to pick up a clump there may look like there is nothing there, just look a little closer and you will see a mini community inside.
Sargassum, the little round structures are the air bladders that allow it to float.
Here are some of the organisms that we found in just one clump of Sargassum!